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)
Read More

We’re Making a Difference in Chad

News
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

  • Queen

    Kenya

    “When my husband saw the many health issues I had, he despised me, he called me names and always told me in the face that I was more than crippled.” She was left on her own and most of the time starving. She reached at a point that she could not withstand the mistreatment and she went back to her parents. After a few years her parents died. “I walk like a crippled woman, there is nothing that I own on this earth, I don’t have a husband, I don’t have a baby. My life is so empty.” She has said that her deepest desire has been to die a clean woman. But at Gynocare, where she received fistula surgery through the Action on Fistula program, she is happy. Here, she feels loved and valued. She knows she has a family at Gynocare.

  • Sokhina

    Bangladesh

    Sokhina endured four days of excruciating labor before delivering a stillborn baby. But her nightmare was just beginning: soon after she began to leak urine and learned that she had an obstetric fistula. She suffered with this injury for eight years before learning that help was available.

  • Fistula Foundation - Binta

    Binta

    Guinea

    Binta is 35 years old and from Fidi, a landlocked village in northwestern Guinea. At 14 years old she was forced to marry a much older man, and soon became pregnant. After five days of painful labor, she lost her baby. A few days later, she realized that she was not able to control her urine. The difficult labor had left her with an obstetric fistula.

  • Djinto

    Democratic Republic of Congo

    Djinto tried to do everything right. She attended regular prenatal sessions to prepare for the birth of her child. Her pregnancy progressed normally, though she had been warned that the child she carried was too large for Djinto’s young 17 year old body to handle.

  • Hauwa

    Nigeria

    Hauwa was 60 years old when she became aware that the fistula she had suffered with for over 40 years could be repaired for free at our partner hospital, Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVFC).

  • Fistula Foundation - Hellen Aoko

    Margaret

    Kenya

    Margaret is 36 years old and from a very remote village in southwestern Kenya. In this area, child marriage and polygamy are very common. At 16 years old, Margaret’s parents arranged for her to become the third wife of a man more than three times her age. She tried to resist, but eventually gave in to the marriage due to pressure from her family and community.

  • 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.

  • Alphonsia

    Tanzania

    Alphonsia’s heart-wrenching story began 27 years ago after her labor failed to progress properly.

  • Lida

    Afghanistan

    Lida gave birth to her first and only child 12 years ago. Sadly, the baby died shortly after it was born. Not only that, but Lida developed a fistula during the difficult delivery and started leaking urine constantly from that day.

  • Christiana

    Liberia

    Pregnant at 16, Christiana suffered with fistula for several years before her successful treatment at our partner hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Now, with the new skills she is learning through a patient rehabilitation program, she hopes to help support her family.

  • Jacklyn

    Kenya

    Jacklyn is just 29 years old, but has faced enough heartbreak to last a lifetime. Born and raised in Kisii County in western Kenya, Jacklyn was raised by her older sister because their parents abandoned them when she was a small child. She was never able to go to school because she had to do odd jobs along with her older sister in order to have enough food to eat at the end of the day.

  • Flavia

    Flavia

    Angola

    Flavia is a shy 17 year old girl who was married when she was just 15. Soon after, she became pregnant. Her labor began at home, but the family was unprepared when the labor became obstructed. Not knowing what to do, they finally took her to a hospital.

  • Mary

    Kenya

    Mary, from rural West Pokot, Kenya, received free fistula repair surgery in 2015 after being referred for treatment by a community health worker. With a bright future ahead, she wishes to become a fistula ambassador herself.

  • Sofia - WAHA

    Sofia

    Liberia

    At 16, Sofia lost her baby boy in childbirth and developed a fistula, prompting her husband to leave her. Unaware what her condition was called or that treatment was possible, she became almost completely isolated over the next three years, giving up hope of ever being healed. A radio ad changed her life.

  • Levine

    Madagascar

    Levine never imagined that appendicitis surgery would result in an injury that could devastate her life.

  • Debora

    Angola

    Debora lives in a tiny Angolan village quite far from any emergency medical services. In 2008, she was in labor with her fourth child for nearly a week before her uncle finally brought her to a hospital.

  • Goni-Ethiopia

    Goni

    Ethiopia

    Goni is fifteen years old and lives in a small village in the hills of northeastern Ethiopia. She married and became pregnant. During labor she developed a fistula; her husband abandoned her after the injury became apparent.

  • Fina

    Tanzania

    Sixteen years ago, a childbirth injury turned Fina’s life upside down. But after losing everything—her health, her husband, even her own family—she was determined to take her future into her own hands.

We Need YOU!

To follow our work, sign up here for our e-newsletter...

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
* indicates required