New year and new life

23 May 2018


Adeeba is in obstetric fistula Unit in Al-Thawrah Hospital December 2017. © UNFPA Yemen

Hajja, Yemen -  Adeeba got married at the age of 24, and was thrilled when she became pregnant. But when it was time for her delivery, her labour lasted two very painful days, where she remained in her house.

“The pain was so unbearable that we really had to get to a hospital,” recalled Adeeba. “We traveled to Abs hospital, more than three hours from Hajjah city, but by the time we had arrived there, the pain had decreased as my uterus had opened and the head of fetus was coming out.”

At the hospital, a female medical staff that Adeeba didn’t know whether she was a midwife, doctor or nurse, tried to restore the uterine contractions as the baby was stuck, to help her give birth.

 When the baby finally came out, he was already dead. The medical staff sewed the large disruptions in Adeeba’s uterus and sent her home with a heavy heart. Adeeba quickly felt that she had a problem with her urination.

Adeeba’s husband was very pained by what happened to wife and his baby, but supported Adeeba. “My husband took me to the hospital in Hajja City where I underwent my first operation, but it did not change anything,” she said. “I could still not control my urine, and I started to lose hope.”   Adeeba could not afford to seek treatment in Sanaa, even though she believed she might find better medical care there.

The three year of conflict has worsened the living conditions of millions of Yemenis, including Adeeba’s husband who has not received his salary for almost two years.  “I collapsed and I cried a lot. I could imagine living my whole life like that.”

Adeeba left her husband and asked her family to take her to Sana’a. “I did not want to give up”, she said, determined. Her family had to sell their jewelry and borrowed money to be able to pay for the trip.

In Sana’a, Adeeba underwent a second operation unsuccessful in one of the capital’s reputable hospitals. “I was horrified, especially as I knew the sacrifices my families had poured into this,” she said. 

But she was determined to find a solution, and her search led her to Dr. Saud at the Al-Thawrah Hospital in Sana’a, who diagnosed her with obstetric fistula. And when Adeeba worried about the cost of the surgery she needed, she found out that it was free-of-charge.  

UNFPA has supported the establishment of two fistula units in Yemen, including one at Al Thawara Hospital in Sana’a, where 28 fistula surgeries were successfully treated, free of charge, in recent months.

And in the south, 90 percent of fistula surgeries were undertaken with support from UNFPA. UNFPA has also created and strengthened a network of community volunteers, midwives, reproductive health workers and fistula experts from most of the governorates to help fistula survivors receive the services they need.

Adeeba underwent a successful surgery in the mid December 2017, and  was discharged in the beginning of 2018.

“I felt I was born again in 2018,” she said, beaming.