Meet Aidah

72 year old Aidah lived with obstetric fistula for an astounding 41 years before accessing treatment at Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center in Jos. Her family stuck by her side the entire time, and recounted to hospital staff how fistula severely limited her (and their) opportunities and success in life.

Aidah's Story

Theirs was a very happy family until it was time for Aidah to deliver her sixth child. Unfortunately, the sixth delivery did not go as smoothly as the other five. The labor was prolonged and obstructed, and she was taken to the nearest hospital. Doctors performed an emergency C-section and successfully delivered a healthy baby boy. There was much joy and celebration following the delivery, but it was short-lived when Aidah started leaking urine.

Every effort to stop the leaking failed. The family visited several local hospitals without success. Aidah was stripped of all social, economic and even religious opportunities in the community, and she could no longer work on her farm because of the constant leaking. Her children didn’t have many friends, as the other children in the community would tease them for having a mom who was incontinent.

The family clung to hope and continued to visit major local hospitals seeking treatment, but could find none. This eventually drained the family’s economy and they resigned to the fact that Aidah’s fistula could not be cured.

Some years after she developed fistula, Aidah’s husband died. Her late husband’s employer wanted to hire Aidah in order to help improve the family’s finances, but she was unable to accept because of her fistula. Once she lost all means of income, Aidah’s oldest son had to drop out of college in order to care for the family. Her other children were also affected in that they did not have enough money to continue their educations either.

Finally, Aidah heard that fistula repair surgery was available in the town of Jos. Her children discouraged her from trying to go, as they were convinced that her fistula could not be repaired and did not want to get their hopes up. When Aidah heard about an outreach session conducted by Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center in a neighboring state, she insisted that her children take her. At the outreach, which was also a mobile fistula repair clinic, she was assessed and diagnosed with fistula. The fistula was successfully repaired and Aidah became continent of urine for the first time in 41 years.

There was a spontaneous outburst of joy and celebration when she realized she was dry, but Aidah’s joy was mixed with sadness – joy from regaining her health after 41 years, and sadness for enduring so much for so long. She is glad she can now live the remaining years of life in peace with her children.

About Nigeria

  • Population: 177,155,754
  • Average Births per Woman: 5.25
  • Female Literacy: 50.4%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 70% (less than $1.25/day)
Read More

We’re Making a Difference in Nigeria

News
Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center: 25th Anniversary Celebration

With over 175 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Despite its wealth in culture and resources, Nigeria has high rates of maternal and infant mortality, and holds the highest burden of obstetric fistula in the world. Located in Jos, Nigeria, the Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVVF) is led by experienced Nigerian…

News
Limited help for Nigerian women, girls with stigmatizing condition

Global Information Network on Frost Illustrated shares an article on issue of obstetric fistula affecting Nigerian women and girls. Read below for the full story: Limited help for Nigerian women, girls with stigmatizing condition (GIN)- A disabling medical condition linked to child marriage and early childbirth is receiving limited attention from the Nigerian government, according…

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Christiana

    Liberia

    Pregnant at 16, Christiana suffered with fistula for several years before her successful treatment at our partner hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Now, with the new skills she is learning through a patient rehabilitation program, she hopes to help support her family.

  • Elizabeth

    Madagascar

    Elizabeth is mother to ten children. For nearly a year, she suffered in shame, uncontrollably leaking urine. A doctor misdiagnosed her condition as a urinary tract infection. Without a way to stop the incontinence, Elizabeth went to great lengths to hide her injury.

  • Harriet

    Uganda

    Harriet leaked stool for two years before understanding that she was living with a treatable injury. 

  • Halima, from Somalia (photo credit: WAHA)

    Halima

    Somalia

    Halima is yet another brave fistula survivor from Somalia. “When I went to labour, the pain got stronger and stronger and lasted on and on. Something was not right. It took two days to convince my husband to bring me to a health facility. The doctors that saw me decided to immediately carry out a cesarean section. But they had no anesthesia. The pain was unbearable, and when I screamed they started beating me. My baby could not be saved and I developed what I later learned was an obstetric fistula. My husband left me because he could not stand the smell caused by my injury.”

  • Zatindravelo

    Madagascar

    When it came time to deliver her baby, Zatindravelo dutifully made her way to a medical facility to deliver, but her labor took a turn for the worse when there were no doctors or nurses present to assist her when she needed them most. She labored for 17 hours with her first child. The child did not survive. As a result of her prolonged, unrelieved labor, she had developed obstetric fistula.

  • Meet Gladys

    Gladys

    Kenya

    Although she lives in a remote village in southwestern Kenya, successful patient outreach efforts helped Gladys get the treatment she needed. Now recovered, she has started a small business to support herself and her two children.

  • Fistula Foundation - Kamala

    Kamala

    Nepal

    Kamala is a 47 year old mother of four and from a very remote area of western Nepal known as Dailekh. She lived with fistula for eight years, but thankfully is one of few patients who had the support of her husband the entire time.

  • Mwajuma

    Kenya

    Mwajuma developed a fistula while in labor with her seventh child. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she met Mariam, who helped her get free treatment through our Action on Fistula program in Kenya. With her health restored, Mwajuma now has plans to start a new business so she can help support her family.

  • Fistula Foundation - Elizabeth Atieno

    Sylvia

    Kenya

    Pregnant at the age of 13, Sylvia labored for two days before delivering a stillborn baby. She developed obstetric fistula, which led to two decades of shame and sadness. Then one day, she heard a radio announcement that would change her life forever.

  • Flavia

    Flavia

    Angola

    Flavia is a shy 17 year old girl who was married when she was just 15. Soon after, she became pregnant. Her labor began at home, but the family was unprepared when the labor became obstructed. Not knowing what to do, they finally took her to a hospital.

  • Betty

    Kenya

    Betty developed fistula during her first pregnancy, after laboring at home for seven days. Her baby did not survive. Today, she is healthy once again thanks to free surgery provided through the Action on Fistula program.

  • Goni-Ethiopia

    Goni

    Ethiopia

    Goni is fifteen years old and lives in a small village in the hills of northeastern Ethiopia. She married and became pregnant. During labor she developed a fistula; her husband abandoned her after the injury became apparent.

  • Naresia Kenya

    Naresia

    Kenya

    Naresia is a Masai girl from a rural village in Kenya. Only five months ago, at the age of 14, Naresia gave birth to a baby. After a prolonged and difficult labor, she awoke to find her bed soaked with urine. The doctors informed her that the delivery process had left her with an obstetric fistula and she was now incontinent.

  • Confidence from Liberia (WAHA)

    Confidence

    Liberia

    Pregnant with her second child, Confidence went to a local hospital to deliver her baby. But when her labor became obstructed, hospital staff weren’t able to perform the necessary Cesarean section and transferred her to a larger facility. Sadly, it was too late.

  • Gul-Afghanistan

    Gul

    Afghanistan

    Gul lives in Afghanistan. At 13 years old, her father arranged for her to marry an older man who had another wife, and after one year of marriage, Gul became pregnant. When she went into labor, it lasted for two days. There were no clinics or doctors where she lived and Gul's husband became worried. He took her to her father's house, where Gul's father killed a sheep and placed the sheepskin on her as part of a traditional treatment used in her area. After three days of wearing the sheepskin, Gul delivered a stillborn baby.

  • Beauty

    Zambia

    Beauty developed a fistula five years ago after a very complicated delivery. She told doctors at St. Francis Mission Hospital that she prayed every day for a miracle, never knowing that her leaking was actually caused by a medical condition for which free treatment was available.

  • Hamida-Bangladesh

    Hamida

    Bangladesh

    Hamida is a young woman of twenty five from Teknaf in the Cox's Bazar District, a town remotely located at the southernmost point of mainland Bangladesh, at the Myanmar border. When Hamida was only thirteen years old, she was married. She became pregnant and gave birth at home with no medical help, preferring home as a safe place for delivery as more than 95 percent of women do in her region, for fear of hospital costs.

  • Vinesy

    Madagascar

    Vinesy had surgery in April 2013 for appendicitis, but something went wrong and she became incontinent as a result. She had developed an iatrogenic fistula as a result of the procedure and had begun to leak urine uncontrollably.