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Unable to control herself, confused, frightened and still mourning the loss of her baby girl, Dorotea didn't know where to turn.
For 19 years, Dorotea lived with a disability that embarrassed and isolated her. She had fistula. She was beaten and abused, ignored and marginalised - all for a condition that could be treated.
When she was a teenager all Dorotea wanted was a family. Marrying a young man in her village, she soon conceived and carried her child through a normal healthy pregnancy. Dorotea dreamt of a baby girl that she could love and care for, play and laugh with.
Living in poverty and isolated from essential maternal health care, Dorotea couldn't afford to go to hospital so reluctantly chose to give birth at home.
In the first few hours the labour progressed well. Dorotea didn't realise that her baby's umbilical cord had become dangerously wrapped around its neck. As she pushed, her mother pulled. Labour continued for four agonising days, until at last her baby appeared. Tragically, Dorotea's labour had pulled the cord so tight around the baby's neck that it entered the world lifeless and limp. It was a little girl.
I felt severe pain in my heart when my baby came out dead." Dorotea says quietly.
Then, two days later, Dorotea noticed that she was leaking. "I felt something run down my leg. It happened all the time and I couldn't stop it. I would sit and not move around." The dreadful labour that Dorotea had suffered had caused an obstetric fistula - the baby's head had crushed the tissue between the bladder and the rectum, leaving a hole causing urine to leak into her vagina. Dorotea would wake up each morning, soaked in urine.
Unable to control herself, confused, frightened and still mourning the loss of her baby girl, she didn't know where to turn.
In the weeks that followed, her husband abandoned her and her friends began to ignore her. Her life was falling apart and she desperately wanted help - she was nervous and alone. Dorotea stayed in her home for the next 18 years, living alone and coping with the stigma of fistula. She spent her days and nights dreaming of a life that had simply slipped away.
One day, Dorotea's sister visited Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to see friends for Christmas. While there, she heard a community announcement on the radio advertising a local CBM-supported hospital's expertise in dealing with vesciovaginal Fistula (VVF). She rushed home to tell Dorotea the good news - hope was still alive!
Safely resting in a ward with other women, Dorotea holds her hands together and says "I would like to say thanks a lot to the doctors and the nurses; God bless you. My wish is to find a good man and have a baby again. I don't mind if it's a girl or boy!".
"I would like to say thanks a lot to the doctors and the nurses; God bless you." - Dorotea
As a teenager, Dorotea gave birth to a still born child after a difficult labour and delivery. Diagnosed with VVF, her husband and friends abandoned her. 18 years later she has finally had successful surgery and is now looking forward to the future. Dorotea's dignity and hope has been restored.
CBM is working hard to perform fistula operations for the 1.5 million women in Africa suffering from this condition - and with your help we can achieve so much more.
A simple operation to correct fistula takes only 30 minutes; just half an hour could save a woman from the devastating effects of living with fistula.
A gift of £250 would provide an operation to correct fistula, but any amount would make a real difference to the lives of women like Dorotea.