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

  • Wilmina

    Kenya

    “The last 22 years have been years of great pain, loss and very deep sorrows. I lost my baby, later lost my marriage, lost friends, and lost my only family (my parents). Fistula robbed me of everything that I once valued, and I have been left very empty.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Fistula Foundation - Lia

    Lia

    Angola

    Lia arrived at CEML with great misgivings - she had sought help at many places for her fistula but was given no hope. A friend told her that she might find help at CEML and urged her to go, which she eventually did. She told staff there that she sat on some rocks nearby, cried and repeated “God help me” over and over before coming through the doors.

  • NIrmala-Nepal

    Nirmala

    Nepal

    Nirmala is 25. She lives in Doti, in the far western region of Nepal. For many years, she lived in India, where her husband had found work. While living in India, she gave birth to her first child, a stillborn baby that was delivered after 24 hours of difficult labor that left Nirmala with a double fistula, in her bowels and bladder.

  • Rasoandrana Marie Lucie

    Madagascar

    Rasoandrana Marie Lucie became pregnant at the age of 15. Her labor began in April, 2016, and lasted for an excruciating three days. Eventually, the baby was delivered via C-section at a government hospital. The child did not survive. Not long after, Rasoandrana began leaking urine: the difficult labor had left her with obstetric fistula.

  • Grace

    Kenya

    Grace got married in 1994, and explained that she immediately felt a burden upon herself to give birth to as many children as possible as quickly as possible in order to earn respect and stability in her marriage. This, she said, is the status quo in the rural African context.

  • 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.

  • Annet Jane

    Annet Jane

    Uganda

    Pregnant at 14, Annet Jane suffered with a fistula for 23 years before receiving treatment. Now, she has hope for the future.

  • Brenda

    Brenda

    Kenya

    Thanks to a newly opened fistula hospital close to her home in Kisii, Kenya, 17-year-old Brenda was able to get treatment after six months. Now that she is healed, she has dreams of returning to school to become a nurse.

  • Blandine

    Madagascar

    Blandine was so happy to be free of her fistula, that "she honestly couldn't stop laughing, which was so heartwarming!"

  • Abiar

    Kenya

    In her 23 years, Abiar has seen and experienced more sadness than most do in a lifetime. Losing her entire family to civil war in South Sudan in 2011, she married as a way to protect her own life. But soon the worst happened: with no access to health care, food or shelter, she became pregnant.

  • Jane

    Kenya

    Conducting patient outreach in rural western Kenya, Jane faces a number of challenges—including threats to her life—as she travels in search of women suffering with fistula. But knowing there are many women who are enjoying life once again thanks to her efforts gives great meaning to her work.

  • Jahanara

    Bangladesh

    Jahanara is just 23 years old. She was in labor for a full day at home before going to a hospital for an emergency C-section. By then, unfortunately, the damage had already been done.

  • Salome

    Kenya

    Salome's labor began at night. She sought help from her mother-in-law, who immediately called Salome's husband - by cultural norms, the only one who could give permission for Salome to seek help at a hospital. But he had turned his phone off for the night and was unreachable. Her mother-in-law tried all she could throughout the night to help Salome deliver her child. By the time Salome's husband returned the call the next morning to advise that she be taken immediately to the hospital, it was too late. The baby did not survive, and Salome had developed an obstetric fistula.

  • Meet Gladys

    Gladys

    Kenya

    Although she lives in a remote village in southwestern Kenya, successful patient outreach efforts helped Gladys get the treatment she needed. Now recovered, she has started a small business to support herself and her two children.

  • Kaudha

    Uganda

    Kaudha is from eastern Uganda. At age 27, she developed a fistula after spending hours in labor with her third child. Unfortunately, the baby did not survive, and Kaudha’s condition left her feeling isolated from friends and loved ones. But in fall 2015, her story—and her outlook—changed dramatically.

  • Lucie

    Madagascar

    With a tube down her nose to her stomach, Lucie was unable to talk. Her sister, Elysa, relayed this story on her behalf.