In October 2014, our Medical & Programs Director, Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, and Communications Associate, Ashley Burke, traveled to East Africa to represent Fistula Foundation at the 2014 ISOFS conference. While in the region, they also had the opportunity to visit several of our partner sites in Uganda, Kenya & Rwanda. Here is a highlight from…
By the time Umuhoza arrived at the hospital, she had two massive fistulas and could barely walk.
Umuhoza is 24 years old and from a rural village in northwest Rwanda. By the time she arrived at University Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) with her mother in June 2014, doctors realized that she was in pretty bad shape.
Umuhoza’s delivery was so traumatizing that she could not remember any details, but doctors estimated she had been in labor for at least five days based on the extent of the damage. Umuhoza had massive rectal and vaginal fistulas and leaked urine and feces uncontrollably. She suffered from bilateral foot drop – a disabling condition that can be caused by nerve damage during an obstructed delivery – and literally could not walk. She also had a severe pelvic bone infection and a fever of 103.
After treating her infection and fever, doctors were able to operate and successfully closed both of her fistulas. Umuhoza is now dry and no longer leaking urine or feces. She is undergoing physical therapy and can now walk again, though slowly. Umuhoza and her mother have now been at CHUK for over six months, but they say every moment was worth it.
Stories like these are the reason we do the work we do, and none if it would be possible without your generous support.
Longtime Fistula Foundation partner surgeon Dr. Lauri Romanzi is the current head of the fistula care team at CHUK. When asked about Umuhoza, she said:
“It’s been a process. Fistula Foundation has literally saved her life from disaster. Without them, she would have had no food, no clothes, and no chance of getting her fistula repaired.”
- Population: 12,337,138
- Average Births per Woman: 4.62
- Female Literacy: 61.5%
- Population Living in Poverty: 63.2% (less than $1.25/day)