By Bill Mann, Fistula Foundation Board Chair I’m going to introduce you to Vavizely in a second. I warn you, her story is fairly difficult to imagine and a little hard to take. I met Vavizely at Freedom from Fistula’s surgical center in Toamasina, Madagascar. Toamasina is a compact, neat, prosperous coastal town, the commercial…
Rasoanandrasana married at the tender age of 15. She has never attended school, not even primary school. It wasn’t long after she married that she became pregnant, and in April, 2016, at the age of 16, she went into labor.
Labor lasted more than 12 hours before her doctor delivered via Caesarian section. Her baby did not survive. Rasoanandrasana was left with obstetric fistula, and rendered incontinent.
She was fortunate: her doctors were able to identify her fistula immediately. But they explained that her body had gone through a great deal of trauma from childbirth, and she needed the wound of her C-section to heal before she could receive surgery for her obstetric fistula. They explained that it was also too dangerous to undergo two operations so close together, due to the anesthesia. So, she waited.
At home, her husband, family and friends remained loyal. They were very good to her, she said, yet she still felt lonely suffering from fistula. She stayed inside each day. She became very quiet.
A couple of months later, a representative from Fistula Foundation partner organization, SALFA, went to visit Rasoanandrasana in her village, to speak with her about her surgery. This made her feel comfortable. In July, she received surgery to treat her fistula.
The first surgery was unsuccessful, but in October she returned to the hospital for a second surgery. Six days after surgery, she was looking forward to returning home.
- 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)