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

  • Merin’y

    Madagascar

    Merin'y is the mother of three healthy children, but when the time came to deliver her fourth child, things did not go as they had before. Her labor was long and intense, and resulted in an obstetric fistula.

  • Yvonne

    Zambia

    After suffering from obstetric fistula for 17 years, Yvonne boarded a bus that would take her to treatment. She was hopeful that on her return ride, she would be traveling in a dry dress for the first time in nearly two decades.

  • Pastor Raphael

    Kenya

    The fact that he is blind has never slowed him down, and at 45 years, Pastor Raphael is feeling young and energetic. As a child, Pastor Raphael was unable to finish school as he had tend to the family’s cattle, but he always felt a calling to become a pastor and to serve his community.

  • Francine

    Madagascar

    She became pregnant with her first child around age 17. Things did not go as planned, and Francine found herself in labor for three days. Finally, she was taken to a hospital where her baby was delivered via C-section. As a result of her prolonged obstructed labor, Francine had developed an obstetric fistula.

  • Fistula Foundation - Binta

    Binta

    Guinea

    Binta is 35 years old and from Fidi, a landlocked village in northwestern Guinea. At 14 years old she was forced to marry a much older man, and soon became pregnant. After five days of painful labor, she lost her baby. A few days later, she realized that she was not able to control her urine. The difficult labor had left her with an obstetric fistula.

  • Sodreine

    Madagascar

    Sodreine is from Iabomora Village, about 56km from Vangaindrano in Madagascar. She gave birth to her first child at the age of 17, but her labor did not progress as planned. As a result, she developed obstetric fistula.

  • 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.

  • Fistula Foundation - Khadija

    Khadijah

    Chad

    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.

  • Hadija

    Guinea

    By age 27, Hadija had already given birth to four children. Sadly, only two of her children survived. Making things worse, her last pregnancy left Hadija with an obstetric fistula.

  • Blandine

    Madagascar

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

  • Evelyn

    Kenya

    “It was so painful to leave the hospital with the few clothes I had bought for my baby. It was painful to walk out of the gates empty handed [without a baby] and to worsen the matter, with the leaking of urine."

  • Justine

    Uganda

    Justine is 37 years old and lives in Bumasiki , a small village in Bugiri District in Uganda. When her labor pains began, she prepared to go to the hospital but didn’t have enough money to get there. She arrived 20 hours later after gathering sufficient funds from friends and neighbors; but by then, she had developed an obstetric fistula.

  • Jenipher

    Zambia

    While giving birth to her fifth child in 1998, Jenipher endured a prolonged labor, and her baby was stillborn. Afterwards, Jenipher began leaking uncontrollably- she had developed an obstetric fistula. After 18 years of living with fistula, she had all but given up hope of getting treatment, until she heard a comforting voice on the radio.

  • 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.

  • Fistula Foundation - Kamala

    Kamala

    Nepal

    Kamala is a 47 year old mother of four and from a very remote area of western Nepal known as Dailekh. She lived with fistula for eight years, but thankfully is one of few patients who had the support of her husband the entire time.

  • Hauwa

    Nigeria

    Hauwa was 60 years old when she became aware that the fistula she had suffered with for over 40 years could be repaired for free at our partner hospital, Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVFC).

  • Levine

    Madagascar

    Levine never imagined that appendicitis surgery would result in an injury that could devastate her life.

  • Mary

    Kenya

    Mary, from rural West Pokot, Kenya, received free fistula repair surgery in 2015 after being referred for treatment by a community health worker. With a bright future ahead, she wishes to become a fistula ambassador herself.