‘Fistula is Treatable!’ This Friday, we’ll be spreading the word across all regions of Tanzania.

In advance of International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (this Friday, May 23rd) CCBRT and its partners  Vodacom Tanzania Foundation and UNFPA trained 100 community ambassadors from all over Tanzania as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness on fistula.

Fistula is a debilitating childbirth-related injury that causes chronic incontinence as a result of prolonged obstructed labor. In Tanzania, there is an estimated backlog of 28,000 women living with this condition, and there are up to 3,000 new cases of fistula every year. Fistula is completely preventable through improved maternal healthcare. (Read Spotlight on Obstetric Fistula: Giving Women Another Chance to learn more about our fistula program).

CCBRT’s network of over 500 ambassadors work in communities to identify women with obstetric fistula and refer them to health facilities for treatment. Using the CCBRT Fistula Hotline, free to all Vodacom users, ambassadors call CCBRT, notifying them that they have found a patient with fistula. After confirming the diagnosis, CCBRT transfers the necessary fare for the patient’s journey to the hospital using Vodacom M-PESA.

Since the program started in 2009, CCBRT’s ambassador network has grown to over 500 volunteers, referring nearly 2,000 women for treatment.

Hope in the Fistula Ward (photo credit: Mark Tuschman)

Hope in the CCBRT fistula ward (photo credit: Mark Tuschman)

Through this workshop, 100 of our most active ambassadors will now be empowered to host one of 100 community workshops across the country this Friday – the first time that CCBRT’s awareness-raising activities will happen in Tanzania’s 25 regions at once!

Given Tanzania’s recent devastating bouts of rains and flooding, we hope that many potential patients who have not been able to seek treatment will now be encouraged to seek treatment and have their dignity restored.

These community events are vital to ensure that health education is spread widely across the country, especially among poor and marginalized women. Feeling far away from the problem? Celebrate Int’l Day to End Obstetric Fistula by making a donation today, and you can be part of the solution.