Meet Sujata

Sujata lives in Bajura, a very poor and remote mountain district in western Nepal. She lives with her husband, whom she married when she was 16 years old, and his family in a small house shared by 12 people. One year after their wedding, Sujata was looking forward to the birth of her first child. There was no health facility nearby, so when Sujata’s labor entered its eighth day, the family called on the local birth attendant.

Sujata's Story

When that didn’t work, the villagers gathered and made a stretcher to carry Sujata to the health post at Kolti, but there was no one there who could help her. By this time, Sujata’s situation was dire. Her family pleaded with local airport officials to divert a plane flying from the neighboring district and take her to a hospital. By the time she finally arrived, Sujata was unconscious and a stillborn baby was delivered via C-section.

Sujata slowly began to recover and regained consciousness a week later, only to find her baby had died and she was now leaking urine from an obstetric fistula. After returning home for three months, her family sold everything they could and borrowed money from friends and family in order to cross the border into India and seek treatment. They found a doctor willing to perform the surgery, but three weeks after the operation, Sujata was still leaking urine – the surgery had failed, all of her money was gone and she faced a lifetime of incontinence.

Resigned to her fate, Sujata returned home to her village. People were unkind and she started to become isolated from her community. Her family also lost sympathy and made Sujata and her husband move to a small house high up in the mountains. Sujata’s husband continued to care for her, and three years later Sujata became pregnant again. Fearing that this pregnancy, too, would end in disaster, they went straight to a hospital when Sujata went into labor, where she delivered a healthy baby girl. Following the delivery she bled heavily and was eventually taken to the operating room where her uterus was removed. Sujata would have no more children, but her life was saved.

Sujata, her husband and their daughter returned to their home in the mountains and continued to lead a lonely but hardworking life. In 2013 Sujata’s brother heard about a free fistula clinic in Surkhet run by International Nepal Fellowship. They were able to borrow enough money to get to Surkhet, and Sujata was relieved to find out she was not alone – she met many other women suffering from fistula there just as she was. She underwent surgery and fearfully waited the 14 days until the catheter was removed. When it was finally removed, Sujata had been cured.

She is now dry and free from the suffering she had lived with for years. Following her surgery, Sujata said, “Today because of INF I am happy. I had no money but INF has helped me. I could not have hoped for this operation because of my poverty but I found the help I needed and I thank everybody at the camp.”

About Nepal

  • Population: 29,033,914
  • Average Births per Woman: 2.18
  • Female Literacy: 53.1%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 25.2% (less than $1.25/day)
Read More

We’re Making a Difference in Nepal

News
Nepal: One Year Later

In the days following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015, we were relieved to learn that all of our partners in Nepal were safe. But in the capital city, the Kathmandu Model Hospital had been damaged. Staff and patients were moved to the parking lot, for fear the entire facility might collapse. One of…

Kathmandu Model Hospital Success

News
Kathmandu Model Hospital Reconstruction a Success!

In the days following the devastating April earthquake in Nepal, you helped us raise an incredible $150,000 in 24 hours to repair extensive damage to an operating room at our partner site, Kathmandu Model Hospital. We are happy to report that thanks to so many of you, and to the support of Frank Richardson –…

Read Another Woman’s Story

  • Hadija

    Guinea

    Hadija is 27 years old. She has given birth to four children in her life, but sadly two of them did not survive. To make things worse, her last pregnancy left Hadija with an obstetric fistula.

  • Josephine-Congo

    Josephine

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Josephine is from the northwestern corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 34 years old, she is the mother of two healthy boys, ages 11 and 9, the only surviving children from her four pregnancies.

  • Awetu

    Tanzania

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

  • Hauwa

    Nigeria

    Hauwa was 60 years old when she became aware that the fistula she had suffered with for over 40 years could be repaired for free at our partner hospital, Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center (EVFC).

  • Kabuli, from Afghanistan (photo credit: CURE International)

    Kabuli

    Afghanistan

    Kabuli, from Afghanistan, is the third of four wives. When she developed a fistula after enduring obstructed labor without any emergency medical care, her husband forced her into isolation within his home. Living in shame, Kabuli thought she would be miserable for the rest of her life.

  • Margaret and Rose

    Kenya

    At the age of 14, Margaret was raped while fetching water at the local stream. She became pregnant as a result, and endured a difficult labor, which resulted in a stillborn baby and an obstetric fistula. An orphan, Margaret had nowhere to go, and nobody to help her through this terrible tragedy – except her sister, Rose.

  • Harka Maya

    Nepal

    A mother of two, Harka Maya lives in Sindhuli, Nepal, roughly 80 miles (129 km) from Kathmandu. She developed a fistula last summer, while in labor with her third child. Being from a poor farming family, it was customary for her to deliver at home.

  • Rose

    Tanzania

    Rose developed a fistula after her very first pregnancy, and has been suffering because of it ever since. For over fifty years she struggled, never knowing that treatment was available....until recently when she met Sister Anna, the head nurse of Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center's fistula ward in Moshi.

  • Helen

    Kenya

    Helen went into labor with her second child about four years ago. She gave birth in her home, where she labored for many hours, completely alone without anyone present to assist her. Her baby was stillborn and she began leaking urine immediately.

  • Maho

    Madagascar

    At 20 years old, Maho is mother to two healthy children. In June 2016, when giving birth to her third child, her labor went quite differently. She endured an excruciating labor that lasted three days and resulted in a C-section. Her child did not survive, and Maho had begun to leak urine.

  • Fistula Foundation - Kamala

    Kamala

    Nepal

    Kamala is a 47 year old mother of four and from a very remote area of western Nepal known as Dailekh. She lived with fistula for eight years, but thankfully is one of few patients who had the support of her husband the entire time.

  • 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.

  • Salha

    Tanzania

    Salha had a complicated and prolonged labor before she was finally brought to a hospital in the Mtwara region of Tanzania. There she received an emergency C-section section, but it was too late. Tragically, Salha’s baby had already died. A few days later, Salha realized she was leaking urine.

  • Naomi

    Tanzania

    Naomi arrived at Tanga Health Center in northeastern Tanzania as a glowing 24 year old expectant mother and businesswoman with a supportive family and a bright future. She returned home with a healthy baby, but also a devastating condition that threatened to diminish that future - obstetric fistula.

  • Reeta

    Nepal

    Reeta arrived at International Nepal Foundation's fistula clinic with her younger son, Tej. They live in Kanchenpur, a 9 hour journey by bus from Surkhet. Reeta developed an obstetric fistula after her youngest son’s birth 33 years ago. She had delivered two sons previously at home without difficulty, but the third labor was more complicated.

  • Beatrice-Kenya

    Beatrice

    Kenya

    Beatrice is 17 she lives in Western Kenya. Many women with fistula suffer for years or decades before they are able to access surgical treatment. Fortunately for Beatrice, who was 16 when she developed fistula, it was less than a month before she received treatment at the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. Beatrice developed fistula after laboring at home for two days in the presence of a traditional birth attendant.

  • 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.

  • Christiana

    Liberia

    Pregnant at 16, Christiana suffered with fistula for several years before her successful treatment at our partner hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Now, with the new skills she is learning through a patient rehabilitation program, she hopes to help support her family.

We Need YOU!

To follow our work, sign up here for our e-newsletter...

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
* indicates required