Obstetric fistula is a devastating condition that affects millions of women in low-resource settings, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It occurs as a result of prolonged, obstructed labour without access to timely and appropriate medical intervention, leading to a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum. This debilitating condition has severe physical, emotional, and social consequences for the affected women.

Obstetric fistula causes continuous and uncontrollable leakage of urine and/or faeces, resulting in chronic infections, foul odour, and skin irritation. These women often face social stigma, abandonment, and isolation due to the offensive smell and their inability to bear children. They may experience depression, anxiety, and a loss of self-esteem, leading to a diminished quality of life.

Nurse in Wao, South Sudan, holding a GalaxyII Snowman retractor used to assist in fistula surgery.

Nurse in Wao, South Sudan, holding a GalaxyII Snowman retractor used to assist in fistula surgery.


Prof Judith Goh, Wao, South Sudan, says: “Thank you for the donation of Galaxy II frames and hooks. I’m in Wau, South Sudan doing obstetric fistulas and would not be able to do the surgeries without the devices.”

Surgeons can help

Surgeons play a crucial role in the treatment and cure of obstetric fistula through surgical interventions. The main surgical procedure for fistula repair is known as obstetric fistula repair surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon carefully identifies and closes the fistula, restoring the integrity of the affected organs. This surgical intervention allows women to regain control over their bodily functions, alleviating the physical discomfort and improving their overall health.

However, surgery alone is not enough to address the multifaceted challenges associated with obstetric fistula. Comprehensive care approaches are needed, including preoperative and postoperative care, psychosocial support, and community awareness programs. Surgeons and healthcare providers must collaborate with skilled midwives, nurses, and counsellors to ensure holistic care for the affected women.

Ten facts about obstetric Fistula from WHO 

To combat obstetric fistula effectively, a multifaceted approach is essential. This includes increasing access to quality obstetric care, promoting education on safe delivery practices, strengthening healthcare systems, and addressing the underlying socio-cultural factors that contribute to the persistence of this condition. By providing timely surgical interventions and comprehensive care, surgeons can make a significant impact in the eradication of obstetric fistula and improve the lives of countless women affected by this devastating condition

JUNE Medicals charity programme

Charitable donations of surgical retractors can have a profound impact on the productivity of surgeons and their ability to help more patients. Surgical retractors are essential instruments used to hold incisions open and provide better visibility during surgical procedures. However, in resource-constrained healthcare settings, access to high-quality retractors can be limited. Charitable donations of surgical retractors enable surgeons to perform surgeries more efficiently and effectively. With improved visibility and better access to surgical sites, surgeons can work with greater precision, reducing surgical time and complications. This increased productivity allows surgeons to treat more patients within a given time frame, addressing the backlog of surgical cases and improving overall patient outcomes. By donating surgical retractors, individuals and organizations contribute to the enhancement of surgical care in underserved areas, empowering surgeons to provide critical medical interventions to those in need.

I have donated Galaxy II retractors to fistula charity surgeons for many years. I can’t perform the miracles they do for patients, but I CAN make sure they can operate more effectively whilst they are there. I don’t think I can ever stop. Fistula is absolutely heart-breaking, and as a mother, I can’t even imagine their emotional pain and physical suffering.  I will continue to help as much as I can.

Angela Spang

Founder and Owner  JUNE MEDICAL