For 18 years, Dorotea hid herself at home. Her husband left and she became isolated from her community. She was suffering from obstetric fistula, caused by a traumatic labour. Her baby daughter was stillborn and she was left leaking urine continuously.
As a teenager, all Dorotea wanted was a family. Marrying a young man in her village, she soon conceived. She couldn't afford to go to hospital so went into labour with her mother to help her. But the baby's umbilical cord had become wrapped around its neck. Labour continued for four agonising days. But her little girl entered the world lifeless and limp.
Devastated by this loss, she then she noticed that she was leaking urine. "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."
Her difficult labour had left her with a hole between her bladder and vagina. She would wake up each morning, soaked in urine.
In the weeks that followed, Dorotea’s husband abandoned her and her friends began to ignore her. For the next 18 years, she lived alone.
Many women like Dorotea have no idea that treatment for fistula is available – in most cases it can be corrected with simple surgery. But one day, on a visit to Dar es Salaam, Dorotea’s sister heard a radio advertisement for CBM’s partner, who are leading experts in in treating fistula. She rushed to tell Dorotea the good news - hope was still alive!
“God Bless You”
Thanks to CBM supporters, Dorotea was able to access free surgery to correct her fistula.
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!”.