Freedom from Fistula - Fatima's story - AWC, Sierra Leone
Freedom from Fistula
Fatima is a farmer living in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She first came to Aberdeen Women’s Center (AWC) in 2009 as a fistula patient. She developed an obstetric fistula injury during her first pregnancy. Like many fistula patients, Fatima found herself in a prolonged obstructed labor with no medical assistance.
After receiving restorative surgery at AWC, Fatima remained at the clinic for a month during which she received post-surgical
care, rehabilitative skills training and counseling on reproductive health. Like all patients that pass through AWC’s fistula center, Fatima was advised to seek only caesarean sections for any subsequent pregnancies. She was discharged with a caesarean section access card, which ensures ex-fistula patients are able to seek caesareans at any medical center in Sierra Leone.
Since her first admittance into the Center with fistula, Fatima has returned to Aberdeen Women’s Center three times to deliver her three daughters. Most recently, little Baby Aye who is 4 months old, Haja (3) and Nancy (6).
Fatima commented on her experience with staff at AWC, “I am very grateful for Aberdeen and what they are doing there. They gave me hope and do a lot for women in Sierra Leone. I pray for all the doctors, nurses and staff at Aberdeen. I hope God gives them all the things they require and good health. All my pickin [children] are Aberdeen pickin and now I have wel bodi [good health].”
Fatima believes it is important to pass on information to others suffering from obstetric fistula. After traveling to Makeni, a town in
Northern Sierra Leone, she heard of a cousin who had developed a fistula. Her cousin has since received successful fistula repair surgery at AWC. Currently, she continues to reside in Freetown with her three children, mother, sister-in-law, niece and husband. She is the primary income earner for her family through her farming and trade business.