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18 years of struggle: Fatima Ali's recovery

I really appreciate the work that WAHA does for us, and I want to advice all women to regularly have check-ups during their pregnancy” Fatima Ali during her recovery at the Center for Reproductive Health in N'Djamena.

Fatima Ali, 40 years old.

Fatima lived with obstetric fistula for 18 years, a condition that isolated her from everything and everyone around her. Originally from Chad's northern region of Bar Elgazel, she was married when she was only 14 years old. Her first pregnancy came three years after. Not knowing of the importance of seeking health care, she never attended a maternal clinic. For her and her family, it was normal to give birth at home without any skilled medical assistance. However, after 3 days of labor pains and not being able to deliver, she had to be taken to Moussoro's maternity center, where she gave birth to a stillborn baby. It was then that she started experiencing urinal incontinence. That was the first sign of an obstetric fistula. From that day on, her life changed completely: only a year after her difficult childbirth she found herself alone, abandoned by her husband. She also stopped doing her regular activities, and the incontinence made it impossible for her to work.

Before getting cured, Fatima underwent 3 fistula repair interventions without success. She visited several hospitals, and however discouraging these experiences were, she never gave up. At the end, she tried for a second time at the Center for Reproductive Health in N'Djamena, where she had been lastly intervened. This time she was attended by a skilled doctor, Dr. Nessy Bassimike, who had been formerly trained by WAHA. Fatima's fistula was finally repaired with success.

After living for so many years with a fistula, Fatima feels like a new person. She is now 40 and she plans to make a fresh start. The most difficult part about having a fistula is being rejected by everyone and not being able to function normally, or even to have a job to fulfill her needs. “Today, thanks to Dr. Nessy, I have in my hands the life I so much longed for. I would like to tell other women in my village who suffer from fistula that it is possible to get better. But I specially want to tell all pregnant women how important it is to be checked regularly by health professionals.”