As a teenager Dorotea gave birth to a still born child after a 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.

You can help end years of suffering for women with fistula

You can help end years of suffering for women with fistula



A debilitating condition is destroying the lives of women in the world’s poorest places. You can help them.


Fistula is caused by a hole formed in the birth canal, usually as a result of giving birth, leading to incontinence. Thousands of women in some of the world’s poorest places live for years with this condition – often because they don’t know that help is available, or cannot afford the cost of corrective surgery.

In too many parts of the world, due to lack of training, knowledge of conditions like fistula is limited – even in the healthcare profession.

Instead of receiving treatment, women are told that there is no hope of a cure. A gift from you today can change that.


Meet Balkisu

Balkisu was forced to suffer in silence for over twenty years.


When Balkisu was a child, she longed to have an education. But she grew up in a remote part of Nigeria, West Africa, where it can be difficult for girls to gain an education. So at just 16, Balkisu married and moved far away from home to join her husband’s family.

Her first labour did not go well. Balkisu had no one to help her, and her husband’s family accused her of over-reacting about the pain. After a week of agony, devastatingly, Balkisu’s baby was stillborn.

In the midst of mourning, Balkisu noticed she was leaking urine. She had also developed fistula.

"I felt like my world was crumbling."

Balkisu had no money for sanitary products or food. Unable to keep herself clean, she smelt foul, and had terrible sores. Her body couldn’t cope, and her mental health suffered.

Twenty years went by of Balkisu living with discomfort and incontinence. Eventually, her husband threw her out of their home.

With nowhere else to go, Balkisu spent all she had on a bus ticket to her old family home, hundreds of kilometres away. Of all her siblings, only one brother had survived, but Balkisu had been just a child when she left home; would he recognise and help her?

As she reached her old home, she saw a young man threshing wheat under a mango tree. He glanced up, and immediately leapt to greet her. Shouting her name in excitement, her brother Unman threw his arms around Balkisu, and held her close.


The first act of kindness in 20 years

Unman welcomed Balkisu into his tiny mud hut, holding her hand, and she burst into tears. She told him everything. He listened in shock about the treatment his sister had suffered. Although he had never heard of the condition, he was determined to find a solution, and made up his mind to travel to Gombe, a city where he sold his wheat.

Once there, he heard about a free fistula surgery outreach. He rushed home to tell his sister.

CBM’s holistic, comprehensive programme in Nigeria ensures that women get the care they need, along with therapies to restore both physical and mental health.

We need your help to reach women like Balkisu, who don’t know there is treatment available and to support their surgery. Too many live for decades in needless suffering and almost total isolation. You can show other women like Balkisu that they are beloved and valued; treasured by God, and their family in Christ.

You can also call our friendly team on 0800 567 7000 to make your donation.

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