Launched in 2014 thanks to support from Astellas Pharma EMEA, Action on Fistula has provided training to increase the number of surgeons treating fistula in Kenya, developed a countrywide network of hospitals offering free treatment, and has delivered free reparative surgery to more than 2,500 women suffering from this devastating childbirth injury.
Jane and Elizabeth's Story
In 1999, after suffering five miscarriages, Jane prepared to deliver her first child. But two days of difficult labor assisted only by a mother-in-law who had no medical skills left Jane with an obstetric fistula. Her baby boy survived, but the trauma of delivery took a serious toll on his developmental health.
At home, Jane became traumatized by isolation and mistreatment from her husband, who had taken another wife. Her sister, Elizabeth, stepped in.
“After seeing what Jane went through at her home, I decided to take her in to mine,” said Elizabeth. “The love for my sister was paramount and I wanted to give her all the best I could.”
Elizabeth’s husband and children were supportive of Jane joining their household, but there were other challenges. “When I took her in, I was already taking care of seven other children. Four of these were orphans left behind by my elder daughter who passed on together with her husband through HIV related illness. This was my biggest challenges when adding one more dependent who required close attention with my limited resources from our farm,” Elizabeth shared, tearfully.
Last year, Jane was visited by an outreach worker affiliated with Fistula Foundation’s Action on Fistula program, who shared information about fistula treatment. Jane was soon screened and referred for treatment.
“I was very overjoyed and thanked God and the doctors in whose hands He worked miracles to save my sister, in a way I never expected,” said Elizabeth.
Today, Jane is healed of fistula and remains warmly received by Elizabeth’s family.
“The most important thing is to show love and care to a sister who is a fistula survivor,” said Elizabeth, adding, “This will mean a lot to her.”
- 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)