Obstetric fistula happens most frequently in rural areas, where emergency medical care is not easily accessible. A woman’s risk of developing fistula is also exacerbated by cultural misunderstanding about doctors and surgery. Madagascar faces both of these challenges: its infrastructure is poor, which can make travel to the hospital complicated and dangerous. Also, there is…
Zatindravelo developed obstetric fistula on July 10, 2016. She had dutifully made her way to a medical facility to deliver, but her labor took a turn for the worse when there were no doctors or nurses present to assist her when she needed them most. She labored for 17 hours with her first child. The child did not survive. As a result of her prolonged, unrelieved labor, she had developed obstetric fistula.
She began to leak urine uncontrollably. Embarrassed by her condition, she told her friends that she was sick. She stayed inside for the entire three months she suffered with fistula. Only her husband and her mother knew of her injury. Her mother, especially, was a great source of comfort during this difficult time.
One day, her mother’s cousin learned of fistula repair services being offered at a hospital in Morondava by SALFA, a Fistula Foundation partner. She made her way to the hospital and was screened and admitted for treatment.
She cannot wait to return home, to travel wherever and whenever she wants, and to be able to resume spending time with her friends. She also plans to come out of hiding and tell her friends the truth about her fistula. “I have no reason to be shy any more,” she said. And, she plans to keep an eye out: if she notices any women suffering from the same symptoms she had, she plans to tell them about SALFA and to let them know that help is available.
- Population: 24,430,325
- Average Births per Woman: 4.12
- Female Literacy: 62.6%
- Population Living in Poverty: 75.3% (less than $1.25/day)