Breaking the Curse

Elina is 36 years old, and a mother of four children. She developed an obstetric fistula when giving birth to her fifth child. 

Elina attended the Kamuli Mission Hospital Fistula Repair Camp, and after a successful surgery, she joined UVP’s reintegration program. This program provides extra support to women as they heal, and it also gives them the opportunity to learn a skill that they can use to provide for their families. 

Outside the reintegration house, we sat down with Elina to hear more about her experience living with a fistula and the anguish that this condition caused. She expressed that her pain got so bad that she wished she had died during childbirth instead of her newborn. 

Elina explained that her fistula developed because of a lack of medical attention; her sisters didn’t take her to the hospital until four days after her labor pains started. Because of complications with her labor, Elina’s baby was stillborn. She expressed that it was hard for her to process both losing her baby and that she had developed a fistula. 

When Elina returned home, she was traumatized, isolated, and hurt by the fact that her friends and neighbors made fun of her condition and spoke ill of her. 

In Uganda, some communities see fistulas as a curse and refer women with this condition to witch doctors, or believe it is incurable. 

Elina, however, was fortunate to have the support of her family; one of her sisters heard a radio announcement about UVP’s free fistula clinics and encouraged her to reach out and get treatment.

As part of the reintegration program, Elina is learning how to make beaded bags, necklaces, and bracelets. 

[Elina’s story is shared with her consent.]

You can support women like Elina by making a small donation today!