You can help set women like Editha free from the horrifying disabling condition of fistula, which causes incontinence, needless suffering and humiliation.
Yes, I’d like to restore dignity and health with a gift of...
For over 8 years, Editha has lived fistula, a devastating condition that causes her to leak urine and faeces uncontrollably. She lives in a poor rural area of Tanzania, East Africa, unable to afford treatment.
“With my third birth, I had a long labour that lasted three days. My baby died and I was left with fistula.”
“People say I smell. They say that they don’t like me. I had to stop going to church. I know it is bad, but I’ve been unable to do anything about it. If someone in the community died I haven’t even been able to go to their funeral.”
What is Fistula?
Fistula can happen after a prolonged childbirth, when the baby gets stuck and the resulting pressure in the birth canal causes a tear. It is much more likely in places that don’t have good maternal healthcare. Tragically, the baby often dies. And the mother is left incontinent, forever leaking urine or stools.
Many women in Tanzania don’t know that there is a cure for fistula and live with the condition for years, even decades.
Editha and her husband grow a small crop and sunflowers to sell, but it isn’t enough to live on and they struggle to survive. She also sells refreshments, wrapping a garment called a kanga around her, which conceals the bucket she sits on to collect the leaking urine.
Editha is not alone
Editha saved to go to hospital to have treatment for her fistula, but the first operation was unsuccessful.
“It did not work and I was still leaking. I was crying a lot. The doctors said I had to go back home, but I wasn’t cured.”
Worried about money, she and her husband agreed there was little point in trying again.
Living with fistula:
- Disability. Women with fistula in Tanzania are often ostracised and unable to work, because they are unable to stay clean and free from odour.
- Stigma. Unable to keep clean and odour-free, a woman living with fistula in many African communities can be abandoned by her husband. Many are rejected by neighbours, family, even fellow church members and are forced to live lives of almost total isolation.
- Poverty. Isolated, unable to work and too often abandoned by loved ones, a woman like Editha living with fistula often lives in desperate poverty.
Then Editha was visited by a “Health Mama” from our partner hospital who told her about free treatment funded by people like you.
A “Health Mama” in Tanzania is a trained community outreach worker who travels through rural areas to try and find isolated women like Editha.
Thanks to gifts like yours, she arranged to cover Editha’s bus fare to CBM’s partner hospital, and she was soon on her way to receive free treatment.
“I may have my surgery next week. When I get home I will tell other women that need help to come get it. Most women like me are poor and cannot afford it. I thank CBM donors for helping so freely.”
Whatever gift you can give today could be life-changing for women like Editha, curing them of fistula and providing the help they need to begin a new life.