Habiba-Niger

Meet Habiba

Habiba was married at 16 and pregnant with her first child soon thereafter. She began labor at home, as most women do in Niger. After enduring two days of painful, obstructed labor, she was sent in an ox-cart to the nearest hospital. By the time she received a Caesarian section, Habiba had been in labor for four days. Her baby did not survive.

Habiba's Story

While recovering in the hospital, Habiba realized that she was leaking urine; days of obstructed labor had created a fistula. Her husband learned of her condition and sent word that she was not to return to his home.

Heartbroken and injured, Habiba moved in with her parents. Her depression grew as her fistula prevented her from seeing friends or venturing far from home. She worried that she would never find a husband or have children.

In August of 2011, Habiba received a successful fistula surgery provided by The Fistula Foundation’s partner, Worldwide Fistula Fund, which runs a dedicated fistula center in Danja, Niger.

When she returned to Danja for her six-month checkup, Habiba wore the ceremonial dress that she received from Worldwide Fistula Fund after her surgery. She still holds several concerns about her future, but incontinence is no longer a barrier to living her life.

Before leaving the clinic, Habiba turned to her doctors, smiled, and uttered words unfamiliar to her six months before: “I am happy.”

About Niger

  • Population: 17,466,172
  • Average Births per Woman: 6.89
  • Female Literacy: 15.1%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 43.6% (less than $1.25/day)
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We’re Making a Difference in Niger

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Born in Burkina Faso and educated in Cuba, Dr. Itengré Ouédraogo trained as a general surgeon before returning to West Africa. It was while working with a United Nations health initiative in rural Gouré, Niger, that he had his first direct contact with fistula patients. Being from sub-Saharan Africa, he was familiar with the kinds…

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