Fistula Foundation - Khadija

Meet Khadijah

Khadijah lived with fistula for 18 years, and it isolated her from everything and everyone around her. Originally from Chad's northern region of Bar Elgazel, she was married when she was only 14 years old. Her first pregnancy came three years afterwards and, not knowing the importance of seeking health care or treatment, she never received any prenatal care.

Khadijah's Story

For Khadijah and her family, it was normal to give birth at home without skilled medical assistance. After three days of labor pains, however, she was taken to a maternity center in Moussoro where she gave birth to a stillborn baby. It was at this point that Khadijah started experiencing incontinence, a symptom of fistula. From that day, her life changed completely: only a year after a difficult delivery and the loss of her child, she found herself alone, abandoned by her husband. She also stopped doing her regular activities, as the incontinence made it impossible for her to work.

Khadijah underwent three fistula repair interventions without success. She visited several hospitals and, however discouraging these experiences were, she never gave up. On her final attempt, she arrived at the Center for Reproductive Health and Fistula Repair in N’Djamena. It was here that Khadijah’s fistula was finally repaired successfully.

After living for so many years with fistula and finally free from the condition, Khadijah feels like a new person. She is now 35 and plans to make a fresh start. The most difficult part about living with fistula is being stigmatized by the community without the ability to lead a normal life. “Today I have in my hands the life I so much longed for. I would like to tell other women in my village who suffer from fistula that it is possible to get better. But I especially want to tell all pregnant women how important it is to be checked regularly by health professionals,” Khadijah said after her surgery.

About Chad

  • Population: 11,852,462
  • Average Births per Woman: 4.45
  • Female Literacy: 31.9%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 46.7% (less than $1.25/day)
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We’re Making a Difference in Chad

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Your Donations at Work: Chad

Your donations have supported fistula treatment in Chad since 2011, through the work of our partner Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA). Over the last two years, WAHA reports that they were able to provide life-changing surgery to 310 women—many of whom (40 percent) were suffering from complex injuries requiring an advanced level of surgical…

Care providers gather in the lobby of the Center for Reproductive Health and Fistula Repair in N'Djamena, Chad

News
Expanding Access to Quality Treatment for Women in Chad

Women suffering from fistula in Chad will have access to a regional medical center which specializes in treating women with fistula, thanks to one woman’s very generous gift to The Fistula Foundation. Her donation will help The Center for Reproductive Health and Fistula Repair become a center of excellence with the capacity to treat even more women suffering from obstetric fistula. The…

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Fistula Foundation - Nazneen

    Nazneen

    Pakistan

    Nazneen is a 47 year old mother of six who resides in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. She had been living with fistula for 14 years after experiencing a prolonged labor while giving birth to her sixth child.

  • Odeline

    Chad

    As is the norm in Chad, Odeline was married at the age of 23 and soon became pregnant. The pregnancy went well and she delivered a healthy baby boy. Three years later she also delivered her second baby girl without problems. In 2006, she became pregnant with her third child. She carried the baby for nine months and expected the labor to be normal as in her first two deliveries, but after having been in labor for more than two days it was obvious something was seriously wrong.

  • Serafina

    Angola

    Serafina is 18 years old and from the Mukubal tribe in southwestern Angola. Married off at a young age and one of several wives, Serafina became pregnant when she was 14. She is very small-boned and was suffering from malnutrition when she came to the hospital, as food is often scarce in that part of the country. As a result of that and other factors, her delivery did not go well.

  • Bategna

    Madagascar

    Bategna is from the village of Marerano, 300km from the nearest city, Morondava. As a girl, she attended primary school, but only for a short time. She lived a happy life, until she developed obstetric fistula.

  • Celestine

    Kenya

    In obstructed labor with her sixth child, Celestine was rushed to her local health facility, only to be told she couldn’t have emergency surgery until her family made a down payment. Anxious and afraid, she waited for her husband to return with the money needed.

  • Awetu

    Tanzania

    After Awetu developed a fistula following a difficult labor and delivery, her husband left her and married another. She was heartbroken.

  • Selina

    Kenya

    Selina, a traditional birth attendant from remote West Pokot, Kenya, helped eight women from her village get life-changing fistula surgery. And she’s not done yet.

  • Gul-Afghanistan

    Gul

    Afghanistan

    Gul lives in Afghanistan. At 13 years old, her father arranged for her to marry an older man who had another wife, and after one year of marriage, Gul became pregnant. When she went into labor, it lasted for two days. There were no clinics or doctors where she lived and Gul's husband became worried. He took her to her father's house, where Gul's father killed a sheep and placed the sheepskin on her as part of a traditional treatment used in her area. After three days of wearing the sheepskin, Gul delivered a stillborn baby.

  • Zatindravelo

    Madagascar

    When it came time to deliver her baby, Zatindravelo dutifully made her way to a medical facility to deliver, but her labor took a turn for the worse when there were no doctors or nurses present to assist her when she needed them most. She labored for 17 hours with her first child. The child did not survive. As a result of her prolonged, unrelieved labor, she had developed obstetric fistula.

  • Hadija

    Guinea

    By age 27, Hadija had already given birth to four children. Sadly, only two of her children survived. Making things worse, her last pregnancy left Hadija with an obstetric fistula.

  • Romenisoa

    Madagascar

    Today, Romenisoa is happy because her free surgery was successful, and she is no longer leaking. She is happy and grateful that now she can do her farming in peace, free from fistula.

  • Evelyn

    Kenya

    “It was so painful to leave the hospital with the few clothes I had bought for my baby. It was painful to walk out of the gates empty handed [without a baby] and to worsen the matter, with the leaking of urine."

  • Nanyoor

    Tanzania

    Nanyoor experienced a terrible obstructed labor when she was only 16 years old. She is a member of the Maasai tribe in northern Tanzania, and her remote community is miles away from any major healthcare facility.

  • Marivelo

    Madagascar

    In May, 2013, Marivelo went in to labor with her first child. Her labor lasted for four days. The child did not survive, and Marivelo was left incontinent of urine. She had developed an obstetric fistula as a result of the prolonged, unrelieved labor.

  • Esther

    Kenya

    Esther gave birth to her second child, Manuel, less than one year ago. She was encouraged to stay at home to deliver the baby, where she labored for three days with the help of a traditional birth attendant. Fortunately, she gave birth to a lively baby boy. However, after four days she noticed she was leaking urine and was unable to control it.

  • Justine

    Uganda

    Justine is 37 years old and lives in Bumasiki , a small village in Bugiri District in Uganda. When her labor pains began, she prepared to go to the hospital but didn’t have enough money to get there. She arrived 20 hours later after gathering sufficient funds from friends and neighbors; but by then, she had developed an obstetric fistula.

  • Fanny

    Zambia

    Fanny became pregnant by her boyfriend at 15. She was in labor for over 3 days, seeking medical care. Her family had to row a canoe for 6 hours to reach a hospital before Fanny finally delivered her baby through cesarean section. Fanny developed an obstetric fistula due to this ordeal, but her mother Dorcas was determined to find help for her daughter so that she could live a good life.

  • Rasoanirina

    Madagascar

    Rasoanirina was 18 when she went into labor with her first child. But her labor did not go as planned: it lasted for three excruciating days before the baby was delivered stillborn, via C-section on July 2, 2015. Her complicated labor left her with more than the pain of losing a child; it also left her with obstetric fistula.