Treatment Success Stories
Rosa, age 30, was living at the Kalukembe Hospital Patient Village in Kalukembe, Angola. At the age of 17, after 3 days of labor with her first pregnancy, she lost her first and only child and was left with a fistula. However, she had not lost it all.
Of the fifteen women we met during our 2013 trip to Angola, Rosa’s husband chose to stay in the marriage. Sadly this is still the exception to the rule but we celebrate that she was not abandoned.
Rosa is an example of true dignity. While at the hospital, she invited us into her temporary 10 by 10 foot home of mud in the Patient Village. The mud floor was swept and her few possessions were placed neatly in the corners. In fact, the dirt road outside of her home was also swept. She held her head high. She told us that she was thankful for all she had.
At the time we met Rosa, she had suffered from fistula for 13 years, yet she arrived at the hospital in 2013 filled with hope of full healing. She spoke of a desire to return to her husband and have another child. Rosa, like the other sisters we met on this trip, surprised us with her dignity, strength, and tenacity.
Rosa found healing in 2014! She was DRY for the first time in 14 years, planning how she will live the life designed for her! Free to dream…
Three ladies from Kapilbastu, Nepal
These 3 ladies from Kapilbastu, a poor district on the Indian border in Western Nepal, came for fistula surgery and all went home healed.
All fistula sufferers have sad stories and these women had experienced isolation, shame, and fear since developing fistula through prolonged, difficult labors without medical intervention. However, they were among the most fortunate to have husbands who stood by them. Though each woman had lost her baby, each also had surviving healthy children.
When they arrived, Gita, was depressed and withdrawn. She isolated herself by sitting alone and not talking. She was the first to have her surgery. In the days that followed, she slowly began to cheer up, even to laugh, as she slept in a dry bed with her catheter.
In Nepal, catheters are removed two weeks after surgery, first testing whether the bladder has healed. On the eve of her test, Gita was anxious. She said, “If I am not well tomorrow please give me medicine so that I will die.” Happily, her bladder had healed and Gita went home smiling. In the photo, Gita is the precious sister in the blue sari, smiling from ear to ear!
All three of these sisters are now free to be the wives and mothers they are called to be and to live their lives among friends and family once again. Healed inside and out!
Dr Sam Fabiano
Dr. Sam Fabiano is receiving prayer support and financial assistance from HFOS for surgical training in the west-African country of Gabon. Born in Angola, Dr. Sam began his current five-year training program in 2014 and passed his first series of exams in December of 2016. The accredited program focuses on both medical and spiritual components, equipping surgeons to perform surgeries in their communities while also ministering to the people. Though the program offers many surgical specialties and rotations, Dr. Sam has declared a desire to focus on fistula repair surgeries.
When asked what drew him to care for fistula patients, Dr. Sam said, “One of the things that I noticed was that these young ladies were a group that was receiving little to no attention from the country’s healthcare system and most of them were left to fend for themselves. At [the hospital], I saw them coming together, people from different tribes and languages, and helping each other as sisters … I have watched how these ladies went from one surgery to the next and eventually they arrived at that joyful day- A DRY BED. The experiences with this group of ladies increased my desire to learn more about fistulas so that I might be able to come back and help them get to the day they have a dry bed.”
Dr. Sam, his wife and their daughter have expressed their gratitude and enthusiasm for the partnership with HFOS and are eager to serve their sisters in need. Upon completion of his medical training, Dr. Sam plans to return to Lubango, Angola to serve in our partner hospital, Central Evangelical Medical Center (CEML).