Imagine being otherwise healthy, but with one problem. One uncontrollable, smelly, embarrassing problem: incontinence of either urine, stool, or both.
This is obstetric fistula. It’s caused by a traumatic labor, ripping a hole in the woman’s bladder or rectum.
It’s not just uncomfortable and disturbing, the condition ruins women’s lives. They suffer not only constant incontinence, but shame, social segregation, familial rejection, and other health problems as a result.
Leyla* was all too familiar with all of it, and it was too much. She just wanted to disappear. For good.
Her sadness a cloud
When Leyla first hobbled into the Danja Fistula Center in Niger with her mother, she was curled around a single walking stick. Eyes fixed to the ground, deep sadness surrounded her as a cloud.
Not only was Leyla suffering fistula, she also had a severe case of drop foot, caused by nerve damage during the traumatic delivery.
But neither compared to the greatest pain she’d ever known—her son’s death. Labor had been too traumatic for the infant to survive.
Though Leyla had lost all hope, her mother hadn’t.
“Leyla, we’re glad you’re here,” said a Danja Fistula Center physical therapist.
She continued staring at the floor.
A session of physical rehab allowed Leyla to straighten around her walking stick. Another session, and she could hobble without it, though painfully. With continued sessions, Leyla’s limp decreased. Her pain eased. Smiles brightened her face. By the day she left the center, she was walking much like anyone else.
But nothing was as beautiful as the hope and confidence adorning her after the fistula surgery corrected her incontinence.
“I have my life,”
she said a few days after the surgery, her voice cracking.
“I have my life back.”
Hope for every patient
“The Danja Fistula Center is an amazing blessing of transformation for women suffering from obstetrical fistula,” says Steve Brown, a SIM worker at the Danja Fistula Center. “Each woman has a unique chance to have her life and her dreams restored, as did Leyla.”
By the time she left the center, Leyla was beaming and openly thanking the staff for all the ways they had blessed her:
- Physical therapy giving her the freedom to walk again
- Psycho-social, emotional, and trauma counseling for relational healing
- Spiritual guidance as the gospel of Jesus Christ was both taught and exemplified
- Skills training for future employment
- Fistula surgery, curing her incontinence
“I love seeing the women who have been cured, remembering that they came in fear,”
says Steve, tears in his eyes.
“They came without hope, grieving the loss of life as they desired it, thinking it was gone forever. And to see them restored after having proper surgery…it’s a joyful transformation.
“Many of the women we treat would have gone to sorcerers and tried all manner of traditional medicinal cures only to find themselves no better at the end of it. We are proud to have such a large effect on the women who come to the center for treatment.”
Thank YOU for making life transformations like Leyla’s possible through Danja Fistula Center!
Please join us in prayer:
- PRAY for Leyla in her new life, that it be rich with laughter, love, joy, and the hope of Jesus Christ.
- PRAY for the many women who’ve yet to experience life-change through the Danja Fistula Center; that they would hear about it, come, be served, and healed.
- PRAY for SIM staff at the hospital, that God will provide abundant opportunities for them to verbalize the gospel and show the love of Jesus to patients who might otherwise never know Him.
By partnering with SIM, you offer physical, emotional, and relational healing to patients who also hear the gospel in their time of great need.
Please prayerfully consider giving a gift to the Danja Fistula Center.