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…
Rasoandrana Marie Lucie's Story
She is not married and lives at home with her parents. In the early days of her fistula, she changed her underwear six or seven times each day. After a few months, she started to buy children’s diapers.
She tried to maintain a normal life after fistula, but noticed that her friends had grown uncomfortable around her, moving away when she got too close because they could not tolerate the smell of her incontinence. They didn’t know that she suffered from an injury, and she did not tell them why she smelled. Instead, she chose to stay home and avoid them, spending all of her time in the house or in the backyard. Her mother shared her sadness but encouraged her to stay strong.
One day, her uncle told her that his employer, SALFA, provided free fistula repair surgeries, thanks to support from Fistula Foundation. He encouraged her to seek help, and she did. In July 2016 she received free fistula repair surgery. The repair was not successful, so she returned in October 2016 for a second surgery.
This time, her fistula was healed. Rasoandrana was overjoyed. Finally dry, she cannot wait to return home and reconnect with her friends. She plans a big party to celebrate, where she will play music.
Rasoandrana wants to tell everyone about SALFA. She wants to share her story far and wide in hopes that more women learn of treatment as a result. She wants women to know that the surgery doesn’t hurt and that it’s really true: these life-changing surgeries are completely free.
- 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)