Obstetric fistula happens most frequently in rural areas, where emergency medical care is not easily accessible. A woman’s risk of developing fistula is also exacerbated by cultural misunderstanding about doctors and surgery. Madagascar faces both of these challenges: its infrastructure is poor, which can make travel to the hospital complicated and dangerous. Also, there is…
She became pregnant around the age of 16. This was her first pregnancy. When it came time to deliver, Bategna enlisted the service of a traditional birth attendant. Things did not go as planned, and Bategna endured a painful labor that lasted for seven days.
As a result of her obstructed labor, she had developed an obstetric fistula, leaking urine uncontrollably. She also suffered leg paralysis due to the prolonged obstructed labor.
People in the community began to spit on Bategna. Her friends all avoided her. Nobody wanted to be around her because she leaked urine and she smelled. She was desperate for help.
Her mother did not understand why Bategna could not control her urine, and wanted to take her to see a doctor. But they did not have money for transportation, so this was not possible.
For seven months, Bategna did not leave her house.
But one day her mother spoke with a woman named Ndatsaha, because she had learned that Ndatsaha had also had uncontrollable leaking after childbirth, but had received treatment for her condition. At the time of their meeting, Ndatsaha had been planning to travel to SALFA’s hospital in Morondava with her niece, and so she brought Bategna and her mother with her, as well.
Thanks to Ndatsaha, Bategna was able to receive a free, successful fistula repair surgery from SALFA. And as she recovers from treatment, she says she couldn’t be happier. After seven months of isolation at home, Bategna can’t wait to return home and move about freely in her community, once again.
- Population: 24,430,325
- Average Births per Woman: 4.12
- Female Literacy: 62.6%
- Population Living in Poverty: 75.3% (less than $1.25/day)