Djimie is a 15-year-old nomad from the Amtiman area of Chad. She was married at age 13, and soon became pregnant. Being a nomad, she lived far from any kind of health facility. So when she went into labor, there were no trained health workers available to help her. During labor, she recalls, an unskilled birth attendant put tremendous pressure on her stomach. After three excruciating days, Djimie delivered a stillborn child. A few short hours later, she noticed that she was leaking urine uncontrollably.
“Before I had fistula, I was happy,” said Djimie. “Everyone showed me affection and appreciation.”
But when the leaking started, the love she once felt dried up. Life with fistula was isolating, and unimaginably lonely. Djimie’s husband and her in-laws abandoned her. She could no longer participate in the activities she enjoyed before she developed fistula.
Eight months passed before Djimie received encouraging news from an aunt who lived about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from her. Djimie’s aunt told her that free treatment for her condition was available in Abeche, the site of a health facility run by our partner Artemedis. The possibility of healing lifted Djimie’s spirits, and gave her hope. Accompanied by her mother, she made the 200-kilometer (125-mile) trip to Abeche. There—thanks to the expertise of our partner surgeon Dr. Vadandi Valentin—she received treatment. She is grateful for the free, transformative surgery that brought back her health and her happiness.
She told us that she has three hopes for her post-fistula future: to resume her lost activities, to return to her home and to have children, and to reintegrate into society.
Published on November 04, 2022