Meet Yvonne

After suffering from obstetric fistula for 17 years, Yvonne boarded a bus that would take her to treatment. She was hopeful that on her return ride, she would be traveling in a dry dress for the first time in nearly two decades.

Yvonne's Story

Yvonne, 36, is a mother of four from a village in Zambia’s northern Luapula Province. She developed a fistula during her first pregnancy in the year 2000, after a prolonged labor that lasted for several days.

Yvonne’s labor began around midnight, and she was first taken to a clinic where she stayed for more than 24 hours without delivering. She then was taken to several other health centers and hospitals before finally arriving at a facility that had a doctor on duty.

After receiving an episiotomy procedure and being discharged from the hospital, Yvonne noticed that she was leaking urine. She returned to the hospital and was given medication. Yet, the medication did nothing to address her condition.

Living with fistula, Yvonne was ashamed of her smell and leakage. She stopped attending social gatherings and church rallies. Her first husband abandoned her. In 2006, she remarried a man who accepted her condition.

Yvonne continued to seek medical care, and a year later, she was advised to travel to the capital city of Lusaka for treatment—over 700 miles away from her home. Bus fare was far too expensive for her to afford the trip.

In March 2017, her father heard information about fistula repair surgeries on the local community radio station. Yvonne followed up immediately and was screened over the phone. Just a few weeks later, she was given an appointment for surgery at one of Fistula Foundation’s partner hospitals, Mansa General Hospital.

Yvonne traveled with twenty other women on a 10-hour bus ride to Mansa, where she finally received treatment in May 2017. Now that she has found relief, she is feeling happy and grateful.

Yvonne’s strong desire is for Fistula Foundation to continue helping women affected by obstetric fistula and needing treatment. She knows there are still more women suffering the way she did for nearly two decades.

About Zambia

  • Population: 15,510,711
  • Average Births per Woman: 5.67
  • Female Literacy: 56%
  • Population Living in Poverty: 60.5% (less than $1.25/day)
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We’re Making a Difference in Zambia

News
Next Stop, Zambia!

After encouraging success in Kenya since 2014, Fistula Foundation is thrilled to expand its countrywide treatment model into a second country–Zambia. We are already seeing early success, with four new hospitals participating in the network. Two Zambian doctors traveled to Kenya for intensive training in fistula surgery under expert surgeon Dr. Hillary Mabeya, and returned…

Read Another Woman’s Story

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  • Beauty

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    Beauty developed a fistula five years ago after a very complicated delivery. She told doctors at St. Francis Mission Hospital that she prayed every day for a miracle, never knowing that her leaking was actually caused by a medical condition for which free treatment was available.

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    Binta is 35 years old and from Fidi, a landlocked village in northwestern Guinea. At 14 years old she was forced to marry a much older man, and soon became pregnant. After five days of painful labor, she lost her baby. A few days later, she realized that she was not able to control her urine. The difficult labor had left her with an obstetric fistula.

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  • Cellina

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    Cellina Nyasugutha is a community health volunteer with Daraja Mbili, an outreach program based in Kisii.

  • Momakely

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  • Esther

    Kenya

    Esther gave birth to her second child, Manuel, less than one year ago. She was encouraged to stay at home to deliver the baby, where she labored for three days with the help of a traditional birth attendant. Fortunately, she gave birth to a lively baby boy. However, after four days she noticed she was leaking urine and was unable to control it.

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    Lia arrived at CEML with great misgivings - she had sought help at many places for her fistula but was given no hope. A friend told her that she might find help at CEML and urged her to go, which she eventually did. She told staff there that she sat on some rocks nearby, cried and repeated “God help me” over and over before coming through the doors.

  • Aidah

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    72 year old Aidah lived with obstetric fistula for an astounding 41 years before accessing treatment at Evangel Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Center in Jos. Her family stuck by her side the entire time, and recounted to hospital staff how fistula severely limited her (and their) opportunities and success in life.

  • Umuhoza

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    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.

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  • Rasoanirina

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    Kaudha is from eastern Uganda. At age 27, she developed a fistula after spending hours in labor with her third child. Unfortunately, the baby did not survive, and Kaudha’s condition left her feeling isolated from friends and loved ones. But in fall 2015, her story—and her outlook—changed dramatically.

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    At the tender age of 15, Felana became pregnant. She suffered a prolonged obstructed labor, and by the time her stillborn baby was delivered, she had developed obstetric fistula.

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