MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics Launches in Nigeria

Published on June 29, 2021

Courtesy of EngenderHealth

On June 28, 2021, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard and Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Dame Pauline Tallen joined together to launch MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics in Nigeria.

MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics works to strengthen surgical safety in maternal health care and voluntary family planning programs in USAID partner countries. One of the project’s goals is to prevent obstetric fistula, a hole that can develop between the vagina and bladder or rectum during prolonged, complicated labor, causing uncontrollable leakage of urine or stool.

Forty percent of the world’s obstetric fistula cases occur in Nigeria, which reportedly has 13,000 new cases per year.1 The MOMENTUM project will lead a coalition of local and university-based international partners and professional organizations in four states across Nigeria as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

“This new U.S. assistance will help Nigeria’s health care providers identify, manage, and prevent obstetric fistula, female genital mutilation, and other forms of gender-based violence in a complementary manner,” Ambassador Leonard said at the project’s launch. “Fistula is both preventable and treatable, and by working in partnership with government agencies, we can do both.”

For more information about the launch event and the project’s plans in Nigeria, read the full press release here.

Banner image: Nigerian Minister of Women and Social Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen (third right) announces the launch of the USAID Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics activity to help more women in Nigeria overcome the burden of obstetric fistula. Joining Minister Tallen were Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, First Lady of Kebbi State (second left), USAID Health Office Director Paul McDermott (right) and EngenderHealth West Africa Regional Representative Nene Cisse (left).  


  1. Bello, Oluwasomidoyin Olukemi, Imran Oludare Morhason-Bello, and Oladosu Akanbi Ojenbede. 2020. “Nigeria, a high burden state of obstetric fistula: a contextual analysis of key drivers.” Pan African Medical Journal 36: 22.


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