In honor of International Women’s Day, Fistula Foundation CEO Kate Grant writes about how access to surgery and vocational training is empowering women—and impacting entire communities in the process. Read the story of Rose on Global Moms Challenge: #WomenInspire: How access to surgery and vocational training is changing lives – Global Moms Challenge Rose Chelimo…
Mildred is 20 years from the town of Mumias, in Kenya. She was pushed into an early marriage at the age of 16 after being mistreated by her stepmother, who married Mildred’s father after her mother passed away in 2004.
In 2011 she managed to deliver her first child well with the help of her mother-in-law at home. In July 2014, Mildred went into labour with her second baby. She labored at home for two days with the assumption that she again would deliver successfully at home with the help of her mother-in-law. But as her labor progressed, something went wrong and she was required to be rushed to a health care facility. Fortunately, she was able to deliver her baby by Cesarean section, and today, her baby is two months old.
Four days after her Cesarean section, Mildred began to notice the uncontrollable leaking of urine. In the time before being rushed to the hospital, constant pressure of the fetus had caused tissue to die, creating a fistula. She lived with her fistula for two months – the most difficult time of her life – remaining in isolation with her husband being the only close person to her, washing the urine-soaked rags she used to absorb her leaking urine every ten minutes.
Our partners with the WADADIA outreach program identified Mildred and referred her for surgery at Cherangany Nursing Home, where she received free treatment through the Action on Fistula program. She has shared that she is so happy that WADADIA came to her rescue when she didn’t know what to do about her condition, and that she can’t imagine how other women live with fistula for a decade or more, because living with fistula for two months was the most difficult experience of her life.
- Population: 45,010,056
- Average Births per Woman: 3.54
- Female Literacy: 84.2%
- Population Living in Poverty: 43.4% (less than $1.25/day)