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

  • Nathi-Uganda

    Nathi

    Uganda

    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.

  • Everlyn

    Kenya

    Everlyn developed fistula during her second pregnancy. Shunned and stigmatized by her own family, her husband stood by her side until she received successful treatment through the Action on Fistula program.

  • 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.

  • Marivelo

    Madagascar

    In May, 2013, Marivelo went in to labor with her first child. Her labor lasted for four days. The child did not survive, and Marivelo was left incontinent of urine. She had developed an obstetric fistula as a result of the prolonged, unrelieved labor.

  • Harka Maya

    Nepal

    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.

  • 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.

  • Elvanah

    Madagascar

    Elvanah gave birth to her first child at the age of 17. Her labor became obstructed, and ultimately was delivered via C-section. Her prolonged obstructed labor had resulted in an obstetric fistula.

  • Sujata

    Nepal

    Sujata lives in Bajura, a very poor and remote mountain district in western Nepal. She lives with her husband, whom she married when she was 16 years old, and his family in a small house shared by 12 people. One year after their wedding, Sujata was looking forward to the birth of her first child. There was no health facility nearby, so when Sujata’s labor entered its eighth day, the family called on the local birth attendant.

  • Margaret and Rose

    Kenya

    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.

  • Levine

    Madagascar

    Levine never imagined that appendicitis surgery would result in an injury that could devastate her life.

  • Fatma

    Tanzania

    When 18 year-old Fatma became pregnant, she did not have early and quality access to the healthcare she wanted when she gave birth. Fatma developed a fistula as a result of prolonged labor.

  • Lida

    Afghanistan

    Lida gave birth to her first and only child 12 years ago. Sadly, the baby died shortly after it was born. Not only that, but Lida developed a fistula during the difficult delivery and started leaking urine constantly from that day.

  • Felistas

    Kenya

    Felistas developed fistula at the age of 17, after delivering a stillborn baby via Cesarian section. Her husband left her because he could not stand her condition. She suffered alone until learning one day that treatment was available through the Action on Fistula program.

  • Action on Fistula - Jane

    Jane and Elizabeth

    Kenya

    After suffering five miscarriages, Jane prepared to deliver her first child. But two days of difficult labor left Jane with an obstetric fistula. At home, she became traumatized by isolation and mistreatment from her husband, who had taken another wife. Her sister, Elizabeth, stepped in.

  • Hamida-Bangladesh

    Hamida

    Bangladesh

    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.

  • Jenipher

    Zambia

    While giving birth to her fifth child in 1998, Jenipher endured a prolonged labor, and her baby was stillborn. Afterwards, Jenipher began leaking uncontrollably- she had developed an obstetric fistula. After 18 years of living with fistula, she had all but given up hope of getting treatment, until she heard a comforting voice on the radio.

  • 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.

  • Fistula Foundation - Binta

    Binta

    Guinea

    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.