Meet Mwajuma

Mwajuma developed a fistula while in labor with her seventh child. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she met Mariam, who helped her get free treatment through our Action on Fistula program in Kenya. With her health restored, Mwajuma now has plans to start a new business so she can help support her family.

Mwajuma's Story

Mwajuma, 32, is a mother of six from a rural village in Kakamega County, in western Kenya. Orphaned at age 10, Mwajuma had to drop out of school and was raised by her grandmother. Six years later, she was married, and she became pregnant with her first child at age 17. Over the years, she gave birth to six children.

It was while in labor with her seventh child that Mwajuma developed an obstetric fistula.

When her labor began, she went to the nearest dispensary—a small outpatient facility serving her community—where she labored for about 12 hours before she could be referred for emergency obstetric care. After the referral came through, there was another delay, and she waited 24 hours before she was able to get transportation to the hospital. While there, her baby was delivered through a cesarean section, but it was too late. Sadly, the child did not survive.

Two days later, she started leaking urine. The lengthy obstructed labor had left her with a fistula.

Mwajuma was at a loss—she had never heard of such a thing happening. Not knowing what to do or where to seek help for her condition, she had no hope of having her health restored.

Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she learned that treatment was possible. A short time later, while visiting her local dispensary, Mwajuma met Mariam, a community resource person with Women and Development Against Distress in Africa (WADADIA), an outreach partner with our Action on Fistula program in Kenya. Mariam arranged for Mwajuma to be screened and immediately referred for fistula repair surgery at Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, where Mwajuma received free treatment in July 2016.

A few months after her successful surgery, Mwajuma was able to share her story in person with visiting staff from Astellas Pharma, whose EMEA division funds the Action on Fistula initiative in Kenya. Mwajuma and her husband expressed their deep gratitude for the free treatment that restored her health. Now recovered and back home with her family, Mwajuma says she plans to do hairdressing so she can help support her family.

Mwajuma, 32, is a mother of six from Kenya. She developed an obstetric fistula while in labor with her seventh child.
In October 2016, Mwajuma was able to share her story in person with visiting staff from Astellas Pharma, whose EMEA division funds the Action on Fistula initiative in Kenya.
Living in a rural village in western Kenya, Mwajuma was in labor for over 24 hours before she could get transportation to a hospital with emergency obstetric care.
Mwajuma (center), seated with her husband and Habiba Mohamed, outreach manager for the Action on Fistula program. Thanks to this program, Mwajuma didn’t have to wait long for treatment.
Now that her health is restored, Mwajuma says she plans to do hairdressing so she can help support her family. (Photos by Georgina Goodwin)

About Kenya

  • 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)
Read More

We’re Making a Difference in Kenya

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Odeline

    Chad

    As is the norm in Chad, Odeline was married at the age of 23 and soon became pregnant. The pregnancy went well and she delivered a healthy baby boy. Three years later she also delivered her second baby girl without problems. In 2006, she became pregnant with her third child. She carried the baby for nine months and expected the labor to be normal as in her first two deliveries, but after having been in labor for more than two days it was obvious something was seriously wrong.

  • Seline

    Kenya

    Seline lives in a small village in the remote region of West Pokot, Kenya. She did not go to school and married young, as is tradition in this pastoralist community. She went into labor with her fourth child about three years ago, preferring to give birth at home with a traditional birth attendant from her village. Only 18% of women give birth in a health center in this region of Kenya, far below the national average of 44%

  • Habiba-Niger

    Habiba

    Niger

    Habiba was married at 16 and pregnant with her first child soon thereafter. She began labor at home, as most women do in Niger. After enduring two days of painful, obstructed labor, she was sent in an ox-cart to the nearest hospital. By the time she received a Caesarian section, Habiba had been in labor for four days. Her baby did not survive.

  • Nanyoor

    Tanzania

    Nanyoor experienced a terrible obstructed labor when she was only 16 years old. She is a member of the Maasai tribe in northern Tanzania, and her remote community is miles away from any major healthcare facility.

  • 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.

  • Sujata

    Nepal

    Sujata lives in Bajura, a very poor and remote mountain district in western Nepal. She lives with her husband, whom she married when she was 16 years old, and his family in a small house shared by 12 people. One year after their wedding, Sujata was looking forward to the birth of her first child. There was no health facility nearby, so when Sujata’s labor entered its eighth day, the family called on the local birth attendant.

  • Kabuli, from Afghanistan (photo credit: CURE International)

    Kabuli

    Afghanistan

    Kabuli, from Afghanistan, is the third of four wives. When she developed a fistula after enduring obstructed labor without any emergency medical care, her husband forced her into isolation within his home. Living in shame, Kabuli thought she would be miserable for the rest of her life.

  • Beauty

    Zambia

    Beauty developed a fistula five years ago after a very complicated delivery. She told doctors at St. Francis Mission Hospital that she prayed every day for a miracle, never knowing that her leaking was actually caused by a medical condition for which free treatment was available.

  • Domitila

    Domitila

    Angola

    In 2012 Domitila became pregnant with her 9th baby. During her final trimester, she had a severe episode of bleeding. Her family realized this indicated the baby had died, but hoped she would still be able to push it out on her own at home. When nothing happened, they finally took her to the hospital where a hysterectomy was done. After this, she no longer was able to control her urine - she had developed a fistula.

  • Awetu

    Tanzania

    After Awetu developed a fistula following a difficult labor and delivery, her husband left her and married another. She was heartbroken.

  • Ndatsaha

    Madagascar

    Ndatsaha developed fistula when she went in to labor with her third child. She sought the services of a traditional birth attendant, as she had with her previous pregnancies, and as most women did in her community. But this time, things were different. The baby did not come, and Ndatsaha labored in excruciating pain for three days.

  • Marizany

    Madagascar

    At the age of 18, Marizany 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. She suffered from fistula for 28 years.

  • Cellina

    Kenya

    Cellina Nyasugutha is a community health volunteer with Daraja Mbili, an outreach program based in Kisii.

  • Siana

    Siana

    Burundi

    Siana is 17 years old and from Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She developed an obstetric fistula after going through a difficult pregnancy at just 14.

  • Prisca

    Zambia

    Prisca was diagnosed with multiple fistulas, and feared she would have to live with the condition forever. Then, a radio program changed her life.

  • Josephine-Congo

    Josephine

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Josephine is from the northwestern corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 34 years old, she is the mother of two healthy boys, ages 11 and 9, the only surviving children from her four pregnancies.

  • Harriet

    Uganda

    Harriet leaked stool for two years before understanding that she was living with a treatable injury.