Meet Seline

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%

Seline's Story

Seline labored for two days without making progress. Finally she gave birth to a stillborn child, and felt as if her insides had been torn during the difficult childbirth. The fistula she developed left her leaking urine continuously, which caused her a great deal of grief and created conflict with her husband. As she traveled from health facility to health facility seeking treatment, she was only given tablets and injections to help her with the leakage, but nothing changed. Eventually her attempts at seeking treatment caused major challenges with her husband, who was forced to sell all of the family’s goats and cattle to pay for her consultations. Her husband tried to kick her out of the house and told her to go back to her family home, but since she was orphaned and had no living parents, she was forced to stay even though her husband would not associate with her.

Finally, after years of seeking help in vain, Seline received information from one of her neighbors that there was a woman in her community named Jane, who was a Community Health Volunteer working for the organization WADADIA. She was so excited to hear there was another chance for help, and agreed to talk with Jane. Jane told her that she could get help for her condition in a place called Cherangany Nursing Home, and there would be no cost for the transportation to the facility nor during her time at the hospital. Seline was very relieved with this good news, and agreed to go for treatment the very next day.

When Seline reached Cherangany Nursing Home, she was well received and treated kindly by the staff at the facility. She was admitted right away and received fistula repair surgery the very next day.

Seline says she is very happy and she appreciates the support from those who helped pay for her surgery. She is pleased that her husband has come back to her and she can now imagine a good future for her family.

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)
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Read Another Woman’s Story

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