Good Practices on Ending the Health and Human Rights Tragedy of Obstetric Fistula

Campaign to End Fistula

Publication Date: 2013
Author: UNFPA
Publisher: UNFPA


Obstetric fistula is a severe morbidity caused when a woman or girl suffers from prolonged obstructed labour without timely access to emergency obstetric care, notably a Caesarean section. The sustained pressure of the baby’s head on the mother’s pelvic bone damages her soft tissues, creating a hole – or fistula – between the vagina and the bladder and/or rectum. In most cases, the baby is stillborn or dies soon after birth, and the woman suffers a devastating injury – a fistula - that renders her incontinent.