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Meet Siana from Burundi

Siana is 17 years old and from Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She developed an obstetric fistula after going through a difficult pregnancy at just 14.

Siana’s grandmother, who was beside her as she went into labor, was originally reluctant to let her give birth in a hospital. After complications arose, however, it became apparent that she needed to go to a health facility.

Siana was transported from her home to the hospital on a traditional makeshift stretcher, but unfortunately it was too late: the baby was a stillborn. Siana didn’t know this for some time because she fell unconscious for several days following the labor.

After experiencing the trauma of losing a child and undergoing a painful, complex labor, Siana was forced to face a further health problem. Due to the fact that she was so young when she gave birth, had obstructed labor and insufficient medical support, Siana was left with a fistula and its associated symptoms of incontinence. She was embarrassed, being the only one of her friends who still wet the bed at night.

Luckily, the head of Siana’s village informed her about WAHA and their work to support women with obstetric fistula. She was put in touch with WAHA’s team in Burundi, approximately 800km away. In total, Siana had two operations which successfully repaired her fistula and incontinence. Siana and her family were in high spirits, and they sang and cried with joy to celebrate.

Siana got a new start in life after suffering from fistula for three years. She told our staff that she was extremely happy and intended to continue her studies. She also explained that she had been advising all her friends to delay their pregnancies until they are much older, so that they don’t have to suffer in the same way that she did.

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