RCOG Fellow and Chair of the RCOG Global Health Policy Advisory Committee, Professor Alison Fiander, took a 2 year career break to undertake training and subsequent practice in repair of obstetric fistulae in Sierra Leone and Tanzania, returning in September 2012. During her time in Tanzania she published 4 papers on obstetric fistula and helped establish a ‘holistic care’ programme for women undergoing fistula repair at a large disability hospital (CCBRT) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“I got fistula after I gave birth to a child who had already died. I see how my baby was too big and when I delivered it tore me apart. The day it came out, urine started to leak when I stood up or if I laugh or sneeze.
“When I heard about the services at CCBRT, I couldn’t believe that my condition could be treated. I came to CCBRT and was treated. I have received good treatment here at CCBRT. I’m very thankful.”
Naomi Kefa Michael
“I don’t have any children. I got this illness because of giving birth. I heard that this condition, called VVF by the doctors, can be treated. When I was in the hospital I was by myself. I cried a lot. Why is this urine just coming out by itself? It hurt me very much. You had an operation, there is no baby, and your urine is leaking all over. If you look at everyone else, they have had their operations, they have children, and urine is not spilling all over them. I truly was in so very much pain. All the time, I was crying, I cried myself to sleep. I cried so much.
“When I arrived [at CCBRT] I found my fellows and I finally know that I was not alone.”
Maliamu Rashidi Athumani
“I got fistula after delivering. I was in labour for about 14 hours. I delivered at a hospital. The baby had already died inside. This was on 19 May 2011. Three days later I was leaking. I returned again to the hospital and they told me, ‘we can’t do anything, we will send you to a special hospital called CCBRT.’ The nurse brought me here herself.
“When I saw my fellows it gave me hope that I will heal. I am so grateful.”
Read more stories from women who have suffered from fistula