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…
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.”
- Population: 30,986,975
- Average Births per Woman: 2.3
- Female Literacy: 46.7%
- Population Living in Poverty: 25.2% (less than $1.25/day)