In March and April of 2014, 27 girls and women received life-restoring fistula treatment that was paid fully by our Catapult donors.
One By One maintains an active list of women already identified with having obstetric fistula. These women are found and screened by our team of regional representatives in Western Kenya. They travel to villages and gatherings to educate women on safe childbirth and identify women who are living with obstetric fistula.
Estimated girls & women affected
The families of women with obstetric fistula are impacted because sufferers typically cannot work or leave their homes to attend church or community gatherings. Earning power is diminished or eliminated. Husbands usually leave their wives and even extended family often neglects a fistula sufferer. When a women is surgically cured, she can reintegrate into her family and community once again, having a positive impact on all of those around her.
Estimated community members affected
In March and April of 2014, 27 girls and women received life-restoring fistula treatment that was paid fully by our Catapult donors. Thank you! The patients ranged in ages, from 14 to 77 years old. After suffering the devastation of obstetric fistula, each of these 27 women finally had the opportunity to be cared for by a dedicated team at Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, Kenya. Each woman had her fistula surgically repaired, and she received counseling and support, which is critical to the healing process. The fistula treatments that Catapult donors supported will change these women’s lives forever. All 27 have returned home with their dignity restored and will be able to participate again in family and community life.
"From all of the people who have been helped through this program, we are grateful." Hellen, fistula survivor.
Risks and challenges
Women with fistula are usually living in poverty and lack access to adequate healthcare. Intensive rural outreach is needed to find women who are suffering in silence and connect them with the medical care they need. One By One works with a team of local leaders (many of them are fistula survivors) who have been trained to do this critical outreach. Many of the women living with fistula are fearful of accepting the treatment because they have never traveled long distances from home and may fear medical facilities or even worry that the treatment will not truly be free of cost to them. It is usually possible for our Regional Representatives to overcome these barriers by building a trusted relationship with these women over time.
What we’ve learned
One By One has a holistic model of care that we know empowers local people to help each other. We have strong local partners like Gynocare Fistula Center who are critical to the continuum of care we provide each woman. Our model works and continued support from donors will help us heal more women, one by one.
Our fundraising efforts continue to raise money for the work we are doing in Western Kenya. Each week our team of regional representatives are traveling to villages and educating women about safe childbirth and finding more women living with fistula. Each week we are paying for surgical repair for several women and then supporting them with counseling and ongoing support as they reintegrate into their families and villages.
Life-transforming fistula treatment for one women costs $500. We spent the $13,500 generously donated by Catapult donors to cover the cost of treatment for 27 women. These funds had a direct and powerful impact on restoring the health and lives of these women.
Amount spent so far
$500 surgical treatment to repair obstetric fistula for 27 women
An estimated 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean are living with this injury, and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year. Yet fistula is almost entirely preventable and treatable.
Listen to radio interview with One By One Director of International Programs and Interim Executive Director, Carolyn Anderman http://kuow.org/post/500-operation-can-change-lives-african-women
Fistula devastates lives, your support restores them
posted on May 22, 2014
In March and April, 27 girls and women received life-restoring fistula treatment that was paid fully by our Catapult donors. Thank you! The patients ranged in ages, from 14 to 77 years old. After suffering the devastation of obstetric fistula, each of these 27 women finally had the opportunity to be cared for by a dedicated team at Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, Kenya.
Each woman had her fistula surgically repaired, and she received counseling and support, which is so important to the healing process. The fistula treatments that Catapult donors supported will change these women’s lives forever. All 27 have returned home with their dignity restored and will be able to participate again in family and community life.
Risks and challenges
Women with fistula are usually very poor and quite isolated. Intensive rural outreach is needed to find women who are suffering in silence, bring them out of the shadows, and connect them with the care they need. One By One works with an incredible team of trained local people (many of them are fistula survivors) who do this critical outreach work. They encounter many barriers – from fear of traveling a long distance to fear of medical facilities to fear that treatment will not really be free. It is usually possible to overcome these barriers with time and patience.
"Good News!! Fistula is indeed treatable. One By One brought hope to female clients. They can smile as they feel free" - Priscilla, a Fistula Survivor
We immediately used the funds raised through Catapult to cover the cost of treatment for 27 women. We currently have 80 waiting for treatment and hope that through a future Catapult project we can raise the funding needed.
Life-transforming fistula treatment for one women costs $500. We immediately spent the $13,500 generously donated by Catapult donors to cover the cost of treatment for 27 women. These funds had a direct and powerful impact.
This article about our work appeared in the Seattle Times in February 2014.
Help provide vital surgery to women with fistula* in Kenya to support them in rebuilding their lives.
Why we care: A fistula* patient faces a life of ostracism and shame. A $500 surgery restores her dignity and allows her to resume a productive life.
How we’re solving this: Covering the cost of the treatment that transforms women’s lives.
Obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury that affects millions of girls and women throughout the developing world. In Kenya, tens of thousands of girls and women are relegated to the edges of society suffering with untreated obstetric fistula because they did not have access to basic maternal health care. Most babies die during the long labor that leads to this devastating injury. If the mother survives, her internal tissues can be so severely damaged that she is left with a hole. She will leak urine and/or feces uncontrollably and will be unable to board a bus, share a meal with others or go to school. For those who cannot access treatment, their suffering and isolation lasts a lifetime.
Obstetric fistula is preventable if the mother receives basic maternal health care and treatable with surgery and close follow-up. Most patients recover fully after the operation and are able to return to care for their families, make a living or go back to school. Several have joined One By One’s network of Regional Representatives to do outreach work to help fistula patients and educate about safe childbirth.
One By One works closely with our surgery partner, Gynocare Fistula Centre. This clinic is specialized in women’s health and fully dedicated to treating fistula patients. Gynocare has one surgeon, one operating room, 28 beds and 20 medical, counseling and support staff. On average 27 fistula repair surgeries are performed each month.
Gynocare offers a warm, caring environment where the girls and women form close bonds and support each other during their stay. Patient care is holistic and individualized and involves several steps before and after surgery. Pre-existing medical conditions and severity of tissue damage are carefully assed and a treatment plan is put in place.
Counseling is an important part of the recovery process. It helps the fistula survivors understand the physical and emotional steps to making a full recovery. After living in isolation for long periods, often many years, reintegration counseling is an integral part of the post-care treatment. Physical therapy helps patients learn how strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and keep them healthy.
Help 27 girls and women receive treatment for obstetric fistula. One By One is working year-round to reduce the backlog of thousands of women whose lives are shattered by fistula in Kenya.
*Fistula is a hole that develops between the birth canal and one or more of a woman's internal organs. Fistula affects more than 2 million girls and women in the developing world.