Obstetric fistula happens most frequently in rural areas, where emergency medical care is not easily accessible. A woman’s risk of developing fistula is also exacerbated by cultural misunderstanding about doctors and surgery. Madagascar faces both of these challenges: its infrastructure is poor, which can make travel to the hospital complicated and dangerous. Also, there is…
Her doctors told her that no one could help. Unable to tolerate the smell of her incontinence, her husband left.
For the first year, Marivelo did not leave her home, and no one visited her. Not long after she decided to finally venture out of her home, Marivelo’s friends noticed her wet clothes. She was forced to tell them the truth, that she had been leaking uncontrollably for the last year.
But: this turned out to be a very positive revelation. She feared that she would be shunned, but in fact, quite the opposite happened. As word spread through Marivelo’s village, her community banded together to help her, even pooling enough money together to help her pay for a doctor.
When she heard a radio advertisement about surgeries being provided by to women suffering from the same symptoms she had, she made preparations to travel to Morondava to access free treatment from SALFA, a Fistula Foundation partner.
In October, 2016, she received surgery that restored her health, and gave her a second chance at life. She plans to “dance the whole way home” from the hospital, and have a big party to celebrate with her family.
And what of her estranged husband? No bother. She’s going to find a new one.
- Population: 24,430,325
- Average Births per Woman: 4.12
- Female Literacy: 62.6%
- Population Living in Poverty: 75.3% (less than $1.25/day)