Meet Beatrice

Beatrice is 17 she lives in Western Kenya. Many women with fistula suffer for years or decades before they are able to access surgical treatment. Fortunately for Beatrice, who was 16 when she developed fistula, it was less than a month before she received treatment at the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. Beatrice developed fistula after laboring at home for two days in the presence of a traditional birth attendant.

Beatrice's Story

The distance to the hospital was too far for Beatrice to travel, and she stayed at home until her situation was becoming life-threatening. By the time Beatrice arrived at the hospital the baby was stillborn and she had started leaking urine uncontrollably. She also developed foot-drop, which made it difficult and painful for her to walk, as a result of nerve damage caused during the prolonged, obstructed labor.

The staff at Homa Bay Hospital, several of whom had received training in obstetric fistula management during a training camp in November 2011 sponsored by The Fistula Foundation and run by our partner, Direct Relief International, recognized the condition and advised Beatrice and her family that she could receive surgical repair at the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital. Beatrice’s family arranged for her transportation to Kisumu, about two hours from her home, where she was admitted for surgery in May 2012.

Beatrice’s treatment was successful and she is no longer leaking urine. The pain in her leg is feeling better and most of all she is happy to be back in school. She thinks she would like to have children, but only after she has finished her studies and she is ready to have a family. Beatrice’s mother is also very relieved that Beatrice is back to good health, and feels she has a bright future being back in school.

Thanks to the availability of fistula repair at Nyanza Provincial General Hospital and the quick referral from health workers trained to recognize her condition, Beatrice did not suffer the severe stigma and isolation that many women with fistula endure. When girls and young women like Beatrice develop fistula, it is imperative they have treatment as early as possible and a strong support system to minimize the heavy toll that fistula can take on their physical, social, and psychological well-being. Ultimately, neither Beatrice nor any woman should suffer from such a devastating, preventable injury. As we strengthen prevention efforts, it is essential that women living with fistula also have access to the treatment they need.

About Kenya

  • Population: 45,010,056
  • Average Births per Woman: 3.54
  • Female Literacy: 84.2%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 43.4% (less than $1.25/day)
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