Somaliland: Fight against Fistula



Why Do We Work in Somaliland?

Situated in the Horn of Africa between Somalia and Ethiopia, Somaliland has made tremendous strides since the civil wars that afflicted the region from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. The limited data available coupled with statistics from neighboring Somalia suggest a high rate of maternal mortality, in turn indicating high instances of childbirth injuries like obstetric fistula. The risk of developing a fistula is increased due to factors such as inadequate prenatal care, malnutrition, and, to a lesser extent, early marriage.

Previously, the nearest fistula facility was nearly 500 miles away in Addis Ababa, making treatment out of reach for most patients. Improving both access to and quality of obstetric services and fistula care in Somaliland is critical.

What You Help Us Do In Somaliland

We’re helping fund:

  • Construction of facilities
  • Medical equipment
  • Visiting Fistula Surgeons
  • Fistula surgeries


National Boroma Fistula Hospital, Boroma
Edna Adan University Hospital, Hargeisa

How much funding have we granted?

National Boroma Fistula Hospital

$25,000 in FY2013
$166,850 in FY2012
$142,000 in FY2010

Edna Adan University Hospital

$86,004 in FY2013
$75,000 in FY2012
$10,559 in FY2011
$10,559 in FY2011
$7,500 in FY2010
$150,000 in FY2009

Who are our partners?

We provide grant support directly to National Boroma Fistula Hospital.

We have provided grant support to Edna Adan University Hospital both through Direct Relief International and directly to the hospital.

How will this help women in Somaliland?

The National Boroma Fistula Hospital (NBFH) is the only hospital in Somaliland dedicated to fistula treatment for women in need. They have 3 full-time fistula surgeons who performed 225 surgeries in 2013, and they hope to increase that number to over 400 annually. The hospital also performs a variety of other activities, such as rehabilitation and skills training for fistula patients, awareness campaigns on radio and TV, and training for community health workers to better identify and refer fistula patients for treatment. NBFH hopes to become a regional center of excellence for training surgeons and providing quality fistula repair and services to women in the Horn of Africa.

The Edna Adan University Hospital in Hargeisa was founded by Edna Adan, an inspiring figure and advocate for women, girls and health. The first Somali woman to be certified as a nurse-midwife in the United Kingdom, Edna spent several decades training midwives in her home country and as a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) throughout Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean Region. After retiring from WHO, Edna returned home to Somaliland to realize her dream of opening a hospital to help improve healthcare conditions for the women and children of her country. After the hospital opened in 2002, Edna simultaneously served her country as Minister of Family Welfare and as Foreign Minister. Her hospital, which was built on the site of a former garbage dump, is now one of the preeminent medical facilities in the country.

In 2009, Fistula Foundation funded the construction of a brand new fistula repair facility at the hospital, significantly increasing their capacity to treat fistula patients locally. We have also provided funding for anesthesiology training to improve the hospital’s ability to provide routine surgical care, as there were no such training programs available in Somaliland until very recently.

– See more at:

Source:  fistula



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