Dr. Charlotte Kaliti is a force to be reckoned with. She is the first female surgeon to complete Fistula Foundation’s rigorous training program in Kenya—and she’s just getting started. Dr. Kaliti commands the room as she sits at the head of a conference table in Nairobi. She looks impeccable—even though she entered only moments before…
Faith C.'s Story
At 17 years old, Faith should have been preparing for her final primary education exam. But instead, she struggles with motherhood and recovery from reconstructive surgery for obstetric fistula. Tears running from her eyes, she told our team, “I am overwhelmed with the drastic change of status from being my mother’s baby to being a mother to my own baby. I am afraid to be a mother – I am only a baby!”
Faith became pregnant after being attacked and raped by two masked men. At 5:30am one morning as she set out to school, she crossed a small river surrounded by small bushes. She heard some movement, but even before the thought of running had crossed her mind, two men, faces covered, grabbed her and dragged her in to the bushes.
“I couldn’t shout for help because they filled my mouth with a big piece of cloth. It was the worst experience ever. I am still haunted with what happened to me that morning,” Faith shared, overwhelmed with emotion.
Faith’s family decided to treat the incident as a secret. Because of their decision, Faith never sought medical care, let alone justice. Three months after the ugly incident, Faith learned that she was pregnant.
“I had a very difficult pregnancy but I somehow managed to get to full term,” she explained. “As soon I started feeling labor pains, I was taken to the district hospital. Unfortunately, there was a nurse’s strike, and I was not attended to until four days later.” Faith eventually delivered through a Cesarean section, and miraculously, her baby survived.
But five days after delivery, Faith started leaking urine. Thankfully, she did not suffer long. Three months after her fistula developed, she was able to receive successful fistula repair surgery through the Action on Fistula program, from the Gynocare Women’s & Fistula Hospital, a Fistula Foundation partner.
“I have been dealing with so many things. Rape, motherhood, the leaking of urine. And yet, I need to prepare for my final exams! I am grateful to Action on Fistula for fixing my life and helping with the challenges that women face. I am going to study hard so that one day I will be able to help other girls like me.”
- Population: 45,010,056
- Average Births per Woman: 3.54
- Female Literacy: 84.2%
- Population Living in Poverty: 43.4% (less than $1.25/day)