Obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury that leaves women with permanent incontinence. Obstetric care has nearly eliminated fistula in developed countries, but there are more than one million women and girls in countries with limited health care access who do suffer from this injury. Many of them are abandoned by their husbands and ostracized by their communities. Fistula most often happens to women in their twenties and can be cured only with surgery.
The cost of a surgery through the Fistula Foundation is $586. On top of surgery, the foundation funds outreach to find the women who need treatment and provides social reintegration programs. It also trains surgeons and health center staff and provides resources, such as vehicles for transporting patients, that benefit all of a hospital’s patients. Based on the total cost of operating the foundation and providing these services, I’ve estimated the cost to transform one woman’s life at $1,298.