Fistula Foundation - Binta

Meet Binta

Binta is 35 years old and from Fidi, a landlocked village in northwestern Guinea. At 14 years old she was forced to marry a much older man, and soon became pregnant. After five days of painful labor, she lost her baby. A few days later, she realized that she was not able to control her urine. The difficult labor had left her with an obstetric fistula.

Binta's Story

Binta spoke with her aunt who alerted other family members, and together they decided to request the services of a traditional healer. The family sold their two goats to pay the traditional healer, whose services did nothing to heal Binta’s fistula. Little by little Binta became isolated from her friends. She felt ashamed, and eventually went to the neighboring country, Guinea-Bissau, to seek treatment. During her first month there, a family friend let Binta stay; then he, too, rejected her. She was not admitted to the hospital in Guinea-Bissau due to lack of funds, and spent nine months there working as a housekeeper, and sometimes even begging to survive. When she still did not have enough money for treatment, Binta finally decided to return home to Guinea.

Binta lived with fistula for 20 long years. The most painful part, she said, was the isolation. She was rejected by the community, by her husband, and even by most of her family members, and could not participate in any community gatherings (like weddings or baptisms). One day, Binta’s uncle heard a rural radio message inviting women like her to the local hospital for treatment. The message also indicated that all expenses related to the treatment, such as transportation and meals, would be covered. Binta went straight from her village to the hospital. Following an examination by a doctor, she and three other women were transported to Jean Paul II Hospital in the capital city, Conakry. Binta was required to stay for observation for 21 days before surgery to ensure she was not affected by the Ebola virus, after which she finally received the surgery she had been waiting for for 20 years…and it was a success! Overjoyed, Binta exclaimed, “Unbelievably, I am dry! No more leakage, no more bad smell! It’s just a miracle! What a long story!”

As Binta prepared to be discharged from the hospital, her plans were to triumphantly return to Fidi (her village) and to begin re-learning how to live a meaningful life in her community. “I got used to living in solitude,” she said.

About Guinea

  • Population: 11,474,383
  • Average Births per Woman: 4.96
  • Female Literacy: 30%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 47% (less than $1.25/day)
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    Nathi* lives in Uganda. She was married at the age of 13 and two years later was pregnant with her first child. After enduring a difficult labor, Nathi lost her baby and was left with obstetric fistula, incontinent and leaking wastes. Her husband abandoned her and soon after, her family did, too. At 15, she was alone and scared.

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    Beatrice

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    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.

  • Harka Maya

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    A mother of two, Harka Maya lives in Sindhuli, Nepal, roughly 80 miles (129 km) from Kathmandu. She developed a fistula last summer, while in labor with her third child. Being from a poor farming family, it was customary for her to deliver at home.

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    Kabuli

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    Kabuli, from Afghanistan, is the third of four wives. When she developed a fistula after enduring obstructed labor without any emergency medical care, her husband forced her into isolation within his home. Living in shame, Kabuli thought she would be miserable for the rest of her life.

  • Ravony

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  • Mary

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    Mary, from rural West Pokot, Kenya, received free fistula repair surgery in 2015 after being referred for treatment by a community health worker. With a bright future ahead, she wishes to become a fistula ambassador herself.

  • Justine

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    Justine is 37 years old and lives in Bumasiki , a small village in Bugiri District in Uganda. When her labor pains began, she prepared to go to the hospital but didn’t have enough money to get there. She arrived 20 hours later after gathering sufficient funds from friends and neighbors; but by then, she had developed an obstetric fistula.

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    Cellina Nyasugutha is a community health volunteer with Daraja Mbili, an outreach program based in Kisii.

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