Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
“My name is Naomi and I am 18-years old. I work as a field worker and live with my grandmother. I developed fistula in January, 2015, and went into labor at home. I waited a full day before going to the nearest dispensary. At the dispensary, they told me to wait in line; I waited there one more day. When I was finally examined, they told me that my birth canal was too small for the baby to come out, so they referred me to a bigger hospital. I traveled to the hospital, and then waited for three hours before going into surgery. Once in the operating theater, the surgical team saw my baby’s head had already come out, so they assisted the baby’s delivery rather than conducting a C-section. Unfortunately, my baby was stillborn.
In recovery, I discovered I was leaking. The doctors inserted a catheter, and told me I had fistula and needed to go to CCBRT in Dar es Salaam. I waited one month after my delivery before seeking further treatment. My grandmother continued to care for me, and my other relatives came to visit. Some members of my community were kind and supportive, but not all. I felt badly because my neighbors were laughing at me so most of the time I stayed alone to avoid being laughed at. I couldn’t do anything because of the leaking. I stayed home alone.
My fistula forced me to stop working the fields, and I gave up selling food from my small business because I was leaking. Finally, I decided to seek treatment. A friend of mine had fistula before and was cured, and TV ads for CCBRT prompted me to seek a CCBRT ambassador. The ambassador paid for my transportation with funds wired by CCBRT via Vodafone. The bus ride to Dar es Salaam took 12 hours, but when I arrived was admitted for treatment. If the treatment had not been free of charge, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it.
I felt peaceful going into surgery. I was not nervous because I was tired of the fistula and ready for anything that could help. The surgery conducted by CCBRT’s medical team stopped my leaking. I am happy to be dry, and believe CCBRT’s doctors and nurses care about the patients so I feel like it’s more like home.”
When Naomi returns home, she will continue with her small businesses and field work, bringing in a sustainable income for her and her grandmother. She hopes in the future to have her own house and to be independent. When asked what she would say to the donors who funded her treatment, she replied “Thanks for the treatment because it helps people without money who live a poor life. God bless you.”