A young woman holding her child, Uganda

Photo: Albin Hillert/LWF-Life on Earth Pictures

Obstetric fistula can have devastating physical, emotional, and economic consequences for women and can even result in permanent disability.

The guide introduces readers to obstetric fistula and considers how churches can help prevent the condition from occurring in the women in their congregations and local communities. 

With tips for practical and emotional support, and encouragement to those who are suffering with obstetric fistula, the guide outlines the advocacy work being done and suggests some actions churches can take.

The guide is underscored by the WCCs stance on the issue of obstetric fistula as a human rights concern. The World Health Organization estimates that each year between 50,000 and 100,000 women worldwide are affected by this condition.

An estimated 2-3 million women live with untreated obstetric fistula, mainly in Asia and Africa. 

The booklet provides an introduction to the issue and examines the stigma and discrimination which survivors face,” explained Jennifer Philpot-Nissen, programme executive for Human Rights for the World Council of Churches Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. Through an examination of relevant biblical verses, churches are invited to consider how they can advocate for the prevention of obstetric fistula. The booklet proposes actions that they can take, and concludes with prayers from different church traditions.”


Free download of the WCC publication: "A Guide for Churches on the Prevention of Obstetric Fistula"

Learn more about the WCC work on "Human dignity and rights"