Meet Djinto

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.

Djinto's Story

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. Taking her care provider’s advice, Djinto set out immediately to her local health center when labor began, to be looked after in case of problems delivering.

When her contractions began, it was night time and Djinto and her husband lived far from the health center. But they managed to make their way there. The nurse on duty did the first examinations, informing Djinto that she was dilated to 1cm. She then remained in labor for two days without giving birth.

“I had suffered a lot during this time and during these two days of labor, I tried to push in vain. When the nurse found that it was really hard to get me to give birth, he called for two strong men to bring him physical assistance in order to help me push the child,” recalled Djinto. She felt exhausted to the point of death, at a time when she wanted to give life.

The nurse was also afraid that Djinto might die, so he referred her to another health center for better management. With her referral letter in hand and husband at her side, at 3pm Djinto began walking to the referral facility because there was no ambulance or other vehicle available to transport her. Five hours later, they arrived.

At the referral hospital, the doctor on duty noticed Djinto’s deteriorating situation and took immediate action, delivering a stillborn baby via Cesarean section.
The day after surgery, she noticed that urine had begun to leak down her leg. Her bedding was wet, and remained so – eventually causing a serious infection in the area where she had received stitches, post-surgery.

She remained in the hospital for 51 days. “During this time, I suffered a lot. God recovered my wound, but fistula remained a big life issue,” Djinto said. Her husband was young, but was the only one who could comfort her in this terrible time. An orphan, Djinto had no other family to which to turn.

But soon, her story took a turn. Upon discharge from the hospital, her husband learned information that Fistula Foundation partners, HEAL Africa, advertised a team of doctors that would treat all fistula patients, free of charge. Djinto’s husband registered her immediately. A few days later the team from HEAL Africa arrived and Djinto was one of the first to be treated.

“Today, I am totally healed. I am proud of myself, and I ask God to bless HEAL Africa more for everything it does for girls and women by giving them back the smiles and hope of life. My husband and I pray that God will bless everyone who contributed in one way or another to send this humanitarian aid. We cannot help but be grateful.”

About Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Population: 81,331,050
  • Average Births per Woman: 4.53
  • Female Literacy: 50%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 63% (less than $1.25/day)
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We’re Making a Difference in Democratic Republic of Congo

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“The Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman” [1:29]

Violence and political instability continue to plague the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), effectively crippling its limited maternal healthcare infrastructure and abandoning women who are suffering with fistula. These grinding conditions prompted author and humanitarian Lisa Shannon to call it “the worst place on earth to be a woman.” This International Women’s Day, will you…

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Felana

    Madagascar

    At the tender age of 15, Felana became pregnant. She suffered a prolonged obstructed labor, and by the time her stillborn baby was delivered, she had developed obstetric fistula.

  • Vitasoa

    Madagascar

    Vitasoa is from the village of Manja, approximately 250km from the nearest city, Morondava. She developed fistula during the birth of her first child.

  • Fistula Foundation - Kamala

    Kamala

    Nepal

    Kamala is a 47 year old mother of four and from a very remote area of western Nepal known as Dailekh. She lived with fistula for eight years, but thankfully is one of few patients who had the support of her husband the entire time.

  • Pushpa

    Nepal

    Pushpa is approximately 50 years old and from a remote village in western Nepal. When she arrived at Kathmandu Model Hospital, she was leaking urine and feces uncontrollably and was severely depressed.

  • Fistula Foundation - Maria

    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.

  • Rose

    Madagascar

    Rose developed obstetric fistula at the age of 16, during her first delivery. Life became very difficult for her, in a number of ways. She is not married, and her father is dead. Survival became a challenge.

  • Helen

    Kenya

    Helen went into labor with her second child about four years ago. She gave birth in her home, where she labored for many hours, completely alone without anyone present to assist her. Her baby was stillborn and she began leaking urine immediately.

  • Lucie

    Madagascar

    With a tube down her nose to her stomach, Lucie was unable to talk. Her sister, Elysa, relayed this story on her behalf.

  • Justine

    Uganda

    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.

  • Alitash

    Ethiopia

    Alitash is 56 years old and lives in a small village about 50 kilometers east of Aira, a large town in western Ethiopia. She has given birth three times – her first two children died as teenagers, and the third was stillborn.

  • Jahanara

    Bangladesh

    Jahanara is just 23 years old. She was in labor for a full day at home before going to a hospital for an emergency C-section. By then, unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

  • Naresia Kenya

    Naresia

    Kenya

    Naresia is a Masai girl from a rural village in Kenya. Only five months ago, at the age of 14, Naresia gave birth to a baby. After a prolonged and difficult labor, she awoke to find her bed soaked with urine. The doctors informed her that the delivery process had left her with an obstetric fistula and she was now incontinent.

  • Kabuli, from Afghanistan (photo credit: CURE International)

    Kabuli

    Afghanistan

    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.

  • Siana

    Siana

    Burundi

    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.

  • 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.

  • Beatrice-Kenya

    Beatrice

    Kenya

    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.

  • Rose

    Tanzania

    Rose developed a fistula after her very first pregnancy, and has been suffering because of it ever since. For over fifty years she struggled, never knowing that treatment was available....until recently when she met Sister Anna, the head nurse of Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center's fistula ward in Moshi.

  • Annet Jane

    Annet Jane

    Uganda

    Pregnant at 14, Annet Jane suffered with a fistula for 23 years before receiving treatment. Now, she has hope for the future.