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“I developed a fistula after my fourth pregnancy”

Mariama is from Guinea. She developed a fistula after her fourth pregnancy. If she recovers from the surgery, she hopes to have more children in the future.

My name is Mariama, I am 27 years old and I have two children.

I gave birth to my first child at home. I was in labor for several days before my family finally called a midwife to come help me deliver. By the time she arrived though, it was too late. My baby died a couple of hours later.

Four years later I gave birth to my second child with the help of a traditional birth attendant. I had attended all of my prenatal consultations and I didn’t suffer any complications during the delivery.

For my third child, I also gave birth at home, but on my own. No one was around when I went into labor, and it wasn’t until after my child was born that I was able to call for help. Luckily, everything went well and my baby was healthy.

I developed a fistula after my fourth pregnancy. I had gone to the health center for all of my prenatal consultations, but I went into labor late at night in my village. I tried everything I could to deliver my baby but nothing worked. Late the next day, a few men from my village carried me to the health center in a “hammock”. I labored for another full day but the healthcare workers were unable to help me deliver the baby. They eventually called an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital, several miles away. Once at the hospital, I received a cesarean section. My baby was already dead.

I realized I couldn’t control my bladder and was leaking urine four days later. The hospital staff told me there wasn’t anything they could do to help me. That it wasn’t their job, and that I would have to go to Conakry. Two weeks later, they released me from the hospital.

When I returned home my husband found out that I had a fistula and repudiated me. I’ve lived with this fistula for seven months. Now, I am waiting to be operated on by Professor Guirrassey at the Centre Medico-Social Djigui Espoir-AGFO-SME.

If I am healed, I want to have more children some day.