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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    Ana

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    Today, Ana is 18 years old, with an enthusiastic outlook and bubbly smile. That wasn’t always the case. Ana was just shy of 16 years old when she became pregnant. Everything went well, until it was time to deliver. Her labor was excruciating, and lasted for days.

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    “When my husband saw the many health issues I had, he despised me, he called me names and always told me in the face that I was more than crippled.” She was left on her own and most of the time starving. She reached at a point that she could not withstand the mistreatment and she went back to her parents. After a few years her parents died. “I walk like a crippled woman, there is nothing that I own on this earth, I don’t have a husband, I don’t have a baby. My life is so empty.” She has said that her deepest desire has been to die a clean woman. But at Gynocare, where she received fistula surgery through the Action on Fistula program, she is happy. Here, she feels loved and valued. She knows she has a family at Gynocare.

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  • Beauty

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    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.

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    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.

  • Chepotyeltyel

    Kenya

    Chepotyeltyel is a Pokot woman from a remote, rural area in northwestern Kenya. After suffering with fistula for nearly 50 years, she was finally able to receive free fistula treatment in July 2016.

  • 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.

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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.

  • Rasoanandrasana

    Madagascar

    Rasoanandrasana's body had gone through a great deal of trauma from childbirth. At the tender age of 15, she was married, and it wasn't long after that she became pregnant. Her labor lasted more than 12 hours before her doctor delivered via Caesarian section. Her baby did not survive, and Rasoanandrasana was left with obstetric fistula.

  • Rasoanirina

    Madagascar

    Rasoanirina was 18 when she went into labor with her first child. But her labor did not go as planned: it lasted for three excruciating days before the baby was delivered stillborn, via C-section on July 2, 2015. Her complicated labor left her with more than the pain of losing a child; it also left her with obstetric fistula.

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    Djinto tried to do everything right. She attended regular prenatal sessions to prepare for the birth of her child. Her pregnancy progressed normally, though she had been warned that the child she carried was too large for Djinto’s young 17 year old body to handle.

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    Halima

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    Originally from Somalia and now living in Kenya, in the world’s largest refugee camp, Halima has been through a hell few can imagine. But after traveling over 1,000 miles seeking fistula treatment, she is finally healed.

  • Maho

    Madagascar

    At 20 years old, Maho is mother to two healthy children. In June 2016, when giving birth to her third child, her labor went quite differently. She endured an excruciating labor that lasted three days and resulted in a C-section. Her child did not survive, and Maho had begun to leak urine.

  • Debora

    Angola

    Debora lives in a tiny Angolan village quite far from any emergency medical services. In 2008, she was in labor with her fourth child for nearly a week before her uncle finally brought her to a hospital.

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    Nirmala is 25. She lives in Doti, in the far western region of Nepal. For many years, she lived in India, where her husband had found work. While living in India, she gave birth to her first child, a stillborn baby that was delivered after 24 hours of difficult labor that left Nirmala with a double fistula, in her bowels and bladder.

  • Saran

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    After developing a fistula with the birth of her fourth child, Saran received free fistula surgery at our partner site Jean Paul II Hospital in Conakry, Guinea.

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    Maria

    Zimbabwe

    Maria is 42 years old. She is HIV-positive and currently on antiretroviral therapy. Maria doesn’t have a permanent place to live – she cannot work because of her incontinence, and has no real income to live on. She survives through the ongoing support of her relatives and friends.

  • Siana

    Siana

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    Siana is 17 years old and from Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She developed an obstetric fistula after going through a difficult pregnancy at just 14.

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