Siana

Meet Siana

Siana is 17 years old and from Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She developed an obstetric fistula after going through a difficult pregnancy at just 14.

Siana's Story

Siana’s grandmother, who was beside her as she went into labor, was originally reluctant to let her give birth in a hospital. After complications arose, however, it became apparent that she needed to go to a health facility. Siana was transported from her home to the hospital on a traditional makeshift stretcher, but unfortunately it was too late: the baby was a stillborn. Siana didn’t know this for some time because she fell unconscious for several days following the labor.

After experiencing the trauma of losing a child and undergoing a painful, complex labor, Siana was forced to face a further health problem. Due to the fact that she was so young when she gave birth, had obstructed labor and insufficient medical support, Siana was left with a fistula and its associated symptoms of incontinence. She was embarrassed, being the only one of her friends who still wet the bed at night.

Luckily, the head of Siana’s village informed her about WAHA and their work to support women with obstetric fistula. She was put in touch with WAHA’s team in Burundi, approximately 800km away. In total, Siana had two operations which successfully repaired her fistula and incontinence. Siana and her family were in high spirits, and they sang and cried with joy to celebrate.

Siana got a new start in life after suffering from fistula for three years. She told our staff that she was extremely happy and intended to continue her studies. She also explained that she had been advising all her friends to delay their pregnancies until they are much older, so that they don’t have to suffer in the same way that she did.

About Burundi

  • Population: 10,395,931
  • Average Births per Woman: 6.14
  • Female Literacy: 61.8%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 81% (less than $1.25/day)
Read More

We’re Making a Difference in Burundi

News
Dispatches from the Field

This September, Fistula Foundation Director of Marketing and Development Joop Rubens and Board member Dr. Larry William traveled to Central and East Africa to visit several of our partner sites. They began their journey at one of our longest-term partners, Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, before moving on to Kenya, Burundi…

News
Your Donations at Work: Burundi

We are thrilled to introduce one of our newest partners, Gihofi Hospital in Burundi. Providing competency-based surgeon training in fistula identification and treatment is a top priority of this project. Experts will train new surgeons in Burundi based on the standardized fistula manual recently developed by FIGO. This increase in the number of qualified fistula…

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Fistula Foundation - Nazneen

    Nazneen

    Pakistan

    Nazneen is a 47 year old mother of six who resides in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. She had been living with fistula for 14 years after experiencing a prolonged labor while giving birth to her sixth child.

  • Habiba-Niger

    Habiba

    Niger

    Habiba was married at 16 and pregnant with her first child soon thereafter. She began labor at home, as most women do in Niger. After enduring two days of painful, obstructed labor, she was sent in an ox-cart to the nearest hospital. By the time she received a Caesarian section, Habiba had been in labor for four days. Her baby did not survive.

  • Fatma

    Tanzania

    When 18 year-old Fatma became pregnant, she did not have early and quality access to the healthcare she wanted when she gave birth. Fatma developed a fistula as a result of prolonged labor.

  • Umuhoza

    Rwanda

    Umuhoza arrived at the hospital with two massive fistulas and could barely walk. She was so traumatized by her labor that she could not remember any details. Today she is healed, but the road to recovery has been long and difficult.

  • Faith C.

    Kenya

    A terrifying rape resulted in pregnancy and an obstetric fistula for Faith. But today she is healed and looking forward to a future where she can use her experience to help other women in similar positions.

  • Grace

    Kenya

    Grace got married in 1994, and explained that she immediately felt a burden upon herself to give birth to as many children as possible as quickly as possible in order to earn respect and stability in her marriage. This, she said, is the status quo in the rural African context.

  • Florinda

    Angola

    Living in a small village in central Angola, Florinda was married in her teens and became pregnant at 16. Without access to emergency obstetric care, her difficult delivery caused her to develop a fistula. But today, she is smiling again.

  • Bernard

    Kenya

    Bernard Owino is one of six county mobilizers with Disciples of Mercy (DOM), an organization that runs a fistula outreach program in Kisumu. Before joining DOM, he worked with orphans and other vulnerable populations in the region for four years as a social worker.

  • Bilkis

    Bangladesh

    Bilkis is just 20 years old. She developed an obstetric fistula during the delivery of her first baby. Bilkis delivered under the guidance of a traditional birth attendant who encouraged her to continue her labor at home despite the fact that she had already been in labor for two days.

  • Levine

    Madagascar

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

  • Awetu

    Tanzania

    After Awetu developed a fistula following a difficult labor and delivery, her husband left her and married another. She was heartbroken.

  • Vitasoa

    Madagascar

    Vitasoa is from the village of Manja, approximately 250km from the nearest city, Morondava. She developed fistula during the birth of her first child.

  • Harriet

    Uganda

    Harriet leaked stool for two years before understanding that she was living with a treatable injury. 

  • Kemzo

    Madagascar

    Kemzo endured two to three days of excruciating labor before being taken to get a C-section at a public hospital in Vangaindrano. The prolonged obstructed labor had resulted in obstetric fistula.

  • Marizany

    Madagascar

    At the age of 18, Marizany and her husband looked forward to the arrival of their first child. But labor did not go as planned, and Marizany was left with an obstetric fistula, leaking urine uncontrollably. She suffered from fistula for 28 years.

  • Zeinabou

    Niger

    Zeinabou comes from a village 100 miles north of Danja, Niger. She was married and became pregnant while still in her teens. As is the local custom, Zeinabou planned to deliver her baby at home because maternity services are not easily accessible.

  • Action on Fistula - Jane

    Jane and Elizabeth

    Kenya

    After suffering five miscarriages, Jane prepared to deliver her first child. But two days of difficult labor left Jane with an obstetric fistula. At home, she became traumatized by isolation and mistreatment from her husband, who had taken another wife. Her sister, Elizabeth, stepped in.