Our partner in Guinea, EngenderHealth, dealt with an unexpected challenge in the past year: the Ebola outbreak. As one of three West African countries hardest hit by the outbreak, Guinea reported more than 2,500 Ebola-related deaths. During the epidemic, the government required that all women arriving at the health facility in Conakry undergo a 21-day…
Saran* is from a village in Koundara, a prefecture in northern Guinea. She developed a fistula while giving birth to her fourth child.
With no vehicle to take her roughly 12 miles to the nearest health center, she was in labor at home, attended by her mother and the village elder women, for seven long days. When she finally made it to the district hospital, the doctors performed a C-section, but her baby boy did not survive. When she awoke, Saran found she was leaking urine.
“I went back to the village feeling ashamed,” she says. She was deserted by friends, most of her family, and even her husband, whose family obliged him to take a second wife. She described her isolation as being more painful and destructive than her physical handicap, adding that she lived this way for four years.
Determined to seek help, she traveled to her brother’s home in Sangarèdi, a distance of roughly 175 miles (282 km). While there, her brother’s family was visited by a member of the Village Safe Motherhood Committee—a group of local volunteers who facilitate care for pregnant women and those living with fistula in Guinea, supported by our partner EngenderHealth. Through the work of these dedicated volunteers, and with support from Fistula Foundation, Saran received free fistula surgery in 2015 at Jean Paul II Hospital in Conakry, Guinea.
Now healed and dry, Saran says, “My life has dramatically changed. It feels as though I have been resuscitated! Thank you to the Fistula Foundation, which positively changed my life!”
*Name changed for privacy reasons
- Population: 11,474,383
- Average Births per Woman: 4.96
- Female Literacy: 30%
- Population Living in Poverty: 47% (less than $1.25/day)