Meet Josephine

Josephine is from the northwestern corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 34 years old, she is the mother of two healthy boys, ages 11 and 9, the only surviving children from her four pregnancies.

Josephine's Story

It was the last birth that took the greatest toll on Josephine’s health. She had traveled 70 kilometers from home to the largest nearby town of Wamba, where she endured three days of labor and a Caesarian-section before giving birth to a stillborn baby. Her difficult labor left her with a prolapsed uterus and a fistula, and Josephine began leaking urine. She underwent three surgeries to repair the damage, but none were successful. Heartbroken, she returned home to her two children and to her husband, who left her soon afterward.

For 10 years, Josephine endured the shame and discomfort of her fistula, until one day, when she heard a radio announcement that gave her hope. An organization named HEAL Africa would be setting up a surgical camp in Wamba to treat women like her, who leaked urine. So, she started the four day walk to seek treatment.

HEAL Africa doctors determined that Josephine’s case was complex and required more than one surgery, so she was flown to the larger city of Goma, where a HEAL Africa hospital is located.

Doctors in Goma were able to repair Josephine’s prolapsed uterus and will soon operate to repair her fistula. And for the first time in a decade, she is hopeful. Her prospects of a healthy recovery are excellent and she is already making plans for her return to Wamba: she will live with her children and start a small retail business to support her family.

The Fistula Foundation is proud to provide funding that enables HEAL Africa to extend their reach from urban areas to the most rural, remote corners of DR Congo, allowing more women to receive the medical care that makes them whole again.

About Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Population:
  • Average Births per Woman:
  • Female Literacy: %
  • Population Living in Poverty: % (less than $1.25/day)
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