What's Fistula?

altObstetric Fistula is a double sorrow.  A woman loses her baby in long, painful, obstructed labor and then wakes up to the horror of incontinence. She is often abandoned by her husband, ostracized by her family and village, and left to live the rest of her life alone and ashamed.

For mothers and babies in Ethiopia, the situation is dire. Only 6% of women deliver by skilled birth attendant and maternal, neonatal deaths and injuries are common.

altThere are 9,000 new cases of obstetric fistula every year in Ethiopia.

Mulu is 22 and developed fistula after five days of unrelieved labor at home. Her baby died and she suffers from fistula. Healing Hand of Joy brought her to the Mekelle Fistula Hospital to be cured.

There is a surgical cure for fistula but because of the stigma of having a fistula (“cursed in rural Ethiopia”) most fistula patients post-surgery continue to be ostracized and despised in their villages. Because their husbands have abandoned them, they have no means to support themselves.


Healing Hands of Joy gives former fistula patients a second chance by giving them a purpose, training, counseling and the opportunity to improve their villages and save lives by training them as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors. We also empower these women economically with income-generating skills training and start-up small business funds. Because 100% of your contribution directly funds Healing Hand’s of Joy’s programs in Ethiopia, together we can make obstetric fistula history.

There are 9,000 new cases of obstetric fistula every year in Ethiopia. There are an estimated 100,000 untreated cases in Ethiopia alone. Over 2 million women suffer from obstetric fistula in developing countries worldwide.


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