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…
Marizany is from Tanambe Village, about 36km from the nearest hospital in the village of Vangaindrano.
At the age of 18, she and her husband looked forward to the arrival of their first child. But labor did not go as planned, and Marizany was left with an obstetric fistula, leaking urine uncontrollably.
Her husband could not tolerate her smell, so he left. Marizany was left to fend for herself, and described her leaking as so uncontrollable that it was difficult for her to change her clothing and rags all of the time. Because of this, she isolated herself and did not leave her home to socialize with others.
But finally, one day she learned about free surgeries available from Fistula Foundation partner, SALFA, at the hospital in Vangaindrano, and made her way there.
28 years later, Marizany is finally dry. Her surgery was successful. Now, she feels happy because she can go out to be with others, and to be in the marketplace, where she was not welcome before.
She feels a personal mission to help other women get care. She speaks with other women to encourage them to come for treatment, and shares word of the free surgeries with other farmers in her community.
Marizany told Fistula Foundation staff who captured her story that she was so grateful for the help she received, and hopes that these free surgeries will be continued to help other women and save many lives.
- 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)