My name is Mariama.  I had my first pregnancy when I was 16.  I started experiencing labour pain three months before due time.  It was something scary because at my seventh month I was already experiencing labour pain.  

One day I felt like the baby was close and I started to push, but nothing happened.  After some time I could not feel the baby’s movements.  

When I woke up on the second day, my bed and clothes were all wet.  I was taken to the hospital because my condition was not good.  The journey to the hospital was not easy because the means of transport are difficult and hospitals are very far from the village.  Also, in our village women do not deliver in hospitals because there are Traditional Birth Attendants in the village.  

When I reached the hospital they told me my baby was dead.  I was in shock and in a lot of pain.  I remember that my feet were tied up together so I wouldn’t try to do anything to worsen the situation.

They took me to a District Hospital and operated to remove the dead baby’s body.  I was still at the hospital when I started leaking urine and I was discharged with the condition.

When at home my husband found out about my condition.  He started treating me badly and isolating me.  Even the neighbours did not want anything to do with me.  My parents decided to take me to their home since I was alone with no help whatsoever. My husband married another woman after I went to stay with my parents.

One day while still at my parents’ home, somebody told me there is a hospital that treats the condition I had.  He also told us the hospital was far away.  We walked to the bus station and started the journey to Maternity Africa’s Kivulini Maternity Centre.  At the hospital I met other women with a condition like mine. People were very loving and caring in general.

There were morning devotions that I was welcome to attend if I wanted and different educational activities which encouraged us, given our medical conditions at the time.  I stayed for one week before the operation and afterwards I used a catheter which was removed after a week.  I did not believe it at first that I had been treated for obstetric fistula. I thanked God as I went through a lot of pain with the condition.  

When I return home I will create awareness to other women with the same condition and encourage them not to hide or be afraid.  Thank you.

Maternity Africa exists to treat women like Mariama, curing them of obstetric fistula – up to 150 each year. It is great too, when ladies like Mariama take on an ambassadorial role, telling other people with fistula that Maternity Africa can help treat them too, and pointing them in the right direction.

If you would like to help people like Mariama, you can support the work of Maternity Africa by following the link below. Thank you for your kindness.

Maternity Africa. Making Childbirth Safe.