Amref Tanzania: Overcoming Fistula through Support & Empowerment
Elizabeth’s story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. As a young girl living in the rural town of Kwimba in Tanzania, her father forced her to marry a much older man. Unfortunately, her first pregnancy ended with the loss of her baby and an obstetric fistula.
An obstetric fistula is an abnormal opening between a woman’s genital tract and her urinary tract or rectum. Women who experience obstetric fistula suffer constant incontinence (when you can’t control when you urinate or defecate), shame, social segregation, and health problems (WHO, 20218).
For Elizabeth, her fistula not only caused her physical pain but also psychological trauma.
Elizabeth, now 24, was devastated and didn’t know where to turn until she found the Amref Fistula project, where she received the treatment she desperately needed.
The project provided her with medical care, psychological support, entrepreneurship training, and sheep and goats to help her start her own business and generate a sustainable income.
Along with medical care, the fistula project helped her gain self-confidence and hope for the future. Elizabeth is now a strong advocate for women’s health and is committed to helping other women who suffer from fistula.
Elizabeth’s story highlights the critical work that the Amref Fistula project does. By supporting programs like Amref Fistula, we can help women like Elizabeth rebuild their lives and regain their dignity.
Together, we can end obstetric fistula in our lifetime.
Elizabeth with the goats and sheep she received as part of the Fistula Project / Photo Credit: Adrian Mgaya/Amref Tanzania