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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    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.

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  • Margaret and Rose

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    At the age of 14, Margaret was raped while fetching water at the local stream. She became pregnant as a result, and endured a difficult labor, which resulted in a stillborn baby and an obstetric fistula. An orphan, Margaret had nowhere to go, and nobody to help her through this terrible tragedy – except her sister, Rose.

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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.

  • Ravony

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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.

  • Hadija

    Guinea

    By age 27, Hadija had already given birth to four children. Sadly, only two of her children survived. Making things worse, her last pregnancy left Hadija with an obstetric fistula.

  • Towanda

    Zimbabwe

    Towanda is 20 years old and from a rural area just outside of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. Four years ago at the age of 16, she became pregnant. When the time came to deliver, there were a lot of complications.

  • Tahinomenjanahary

    Madagascar

    Tahinomenjanahary went in to labor at the age of 17. Her labor was excruciating, but she did not begin the journey to the nearest hospital until she had been in labor for more than a day. In total, she labored for three days. The baby did not survive.

  • Serafina

    Angola

    Serafina is 18 years old and from the Mukubal tribe in southwestern Angola. Married off at a young age and one of several wives, Serafina became pregnant when she was 14. She is very small-boned and was suffering from malnutrition when she came to the hospital, as food is often scarce in that part of the country. As a result of that and other factors, her delivery did not go well.

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    Kenya

    Mary's first two pregnancies progressed normally, giving her two healthy children. But she never could have imagined what would happen when it came time to deliver her third child.

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    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.

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    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.

  • Fina

    Tanzania

    Sixteen years ago, a childbirth injury turned Fina’s life upside down. But after losing everything—her health, her husband, even her own family—she was determined to take her future into her own hands.

  • Kemzo

    Madagascar

    Kemzo endured two to three days of excruciating labor before being taken to get a C-section at a public hospital in Vangaindrano. The prolonged obstructed labor had resulted in obstetric fistula.

  • Wilmina

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    “The last 22 years have been years of great pain, loss and very deep sorrows. I lost my baby, later lost my marriage, lost friends, and lost my only family (my parents). Fistula robbed me of everything that I once valued, and I have been left very empty.”

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    Today, Romenisoa is happy because her free surgery was successful, and she is no longer leaking. She is happy and grateful that now she can do her farming in peace, free from fistula.