Despite being known for its rich biodiversity, Madagascar’s people face extreme poverty—three-quarters of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. Fertility rates are high, and child marriage is prevalent in poor, rural areas. Many women lack access to skilled health care providers during delivery, signiﬁcantly increasing the risk of childbirth complications like ﬁstula….
Elizabeth is mother to ten children. Thankfully, each child resulted from a healthy delivery. Today, she is 60 years old and healed of an iatrogenic fistula she believes was caused by a doctor who operated on a cyst in her belly.
But for nearly a year, she suffered in shame, uncontrollably leaking urine. A doctor misdiagnosed her condition as a urinary tract infection. Without a way to stop the incontinence, Elizabeth went to great lengths to hide her injury.
She never told anyone about her condition, but one day some neighbors saw her throwing away a diaper. Rumors started to spread throughout her village. Only her daughter comforted her.
Then, one day a friend told her about a surgery that might help. Elizabeth’s friend had spoken with a friend who had learned at church about SALFA, an organization that provided free reparative surgeries to women who could not control their urine, like Elizabeth.
Elizabeth made her way to SALFA’s hospital in Morondava. Thanks to support from Fistula Foundation, she received free surgery that has restored her health.
Today, she is happy and looking forward to the future – and delighted that the leaking has stopped.
- Population: 24,430,325
- Average Births per Woman: 4.12
- Female Literacy: 62.6%
- Population Living in Poverty: 75.3% (less than $1.25/day)