Joyce’s Story

Case Study

Joyce is 20-years-old and was diagnosed with obstetric fistula when she went into labor with her first child. 

She is originally from the northwest region of Tanzania where she lived with her husband. She became pregnant with her fist child, and she went into labor. Her husband encouraged her to return to her home village to give birth so she did.

“When I was about to give birth to my child I was taken to a small dispensary for delivery,” Joyce recalls. “But my baby was too big and despite the doctor insisting on a natural birth, it was not possible.” 

Joyce was referred to the closest hospital but due to financial constraints and no access to a car, she remained at the dispensary for another 24 hours. When she finally reached the hospital, on the third day of labor, she could not feel anything below her waist.

“I felt dizzy and I could not feel my legs moving, we reached the hospital and the baby had moved further down my birth canal and I had not even noticed. I was taken directly to the operating theater for an emergency C-section and was in surgery for five hours but it was too late to save my baby. I lost my baby.”

Joyce was admitted for a few days at the hospital after her infant was stillborn and then discharged to go back home.  “When I returned home I realized my health had deteriorated as I started to experience urine flowing uncontrollably and after being re-examined at the hospital I was diagnosed with obstetric fistula.”

Joyce was sent to the nearest referral hospital for surgery. In the meantime Joyce’s husband abandoned her due to her condition.

It took Joyce almost a full year from the day she lost her child to receive treatment for obstetric fistula. She knew she needed surgery but was worried her treatment would cost money, so she started to collect money from friends and family. While she was in the process of collecting funds for her surgery a neighbor told her that CCBRT provides comprehensive fistula repair treatment free of charge!

Joyce contacted one of CCBRT’s local ambassadors and spent two days traveling to Dar es Salaam – with all transport costs covered by CCBRT. Today Joyce is recovering well from her surgery. She will stay between three to six weeks at the ward at CCBRT, until she is fully recovered.

She is looking forward to continuing her work as a local farmer and reintegrating into community life, unhindered by the impacts of fistula.