Category Archives: Africa

Why One Woman Traveled from Algeria to Niger for Fistula Surgery

We are happy to publish the latest news from our partner Worldwide Fistula Fund. They do amazing work for women with obstetric fistulas. Please make a donation to help them continue the work they do.


From the Worldwide Fistula Fund:

Summer has been busy at the Danja Fistula Center. In July, a team of six people flew to Niger to assist the staff with patient care at the hospital. Over the course of the month, 40 surgeries were performed on women suffering from obstetric fistula. These women came to Danja hopeful that our team of medical experts would have the ability to repair their fistula and help them begin a new chapter to their life. Nearly everyone has returned to their village optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead. One of those women is Habibati. We wanted to share her story with you.

Habibati immediately stood out to us as she did not look like most of our patients. Her skin was much fairer and softer and her hair was longer and braided. Unlike many of the women who traveled from nearby villages and spoke Hausa, Habibati is Algerian.

Habibati had a pre-arranged marriage at 13 and became pregnant at 14. For three days she labored in her village. Eventually the baby passed and was stillborn. Immediately she started leaking urine and her parents arranged for her to have surgery in Algeria. She had three surgeries there and none were successful. While in Algeria, she heard a news report from a North Africa BBC affiliate about a new fistula hospital in Niger and traveled to Danja in hopes of receiving another surgery.

Habibati’s relationship with her husband is unlike that of many of the patients who come through our door. Her husband came to Danja with her and stayed at a place close to the hospital so he could visit her daily. While so many women with fistula are abandoned by their husbands, it was heart-warming to see Habibati’s husband treat her with such care.

Communicating with Habibati required an extensive game of medical telephone and we were fortunate she also arrived with a friend who served as a personal translator. Our doctor spoke in English to our translator, who spoke in Hausa to one of our nurse’s aides. The nurse’s aide translated Hausa to Fulani to Habibati’s friend, and Habibati’s friend translated Fulani into Arabic for Habibati. Each response was translated back, from Arabic to Fulani to Hausa and then English. While time-consuming, the system worked and we were able to communicate with Habibati and prepare her for surgery.

It took Habibati some time to warm up to the surroundings in Danja because of the language barrier, but once the nurses learned to say hello in Arabic she quickly perked up. She received surgery and is recovering in the patient village. We all hope that this fourth surgery will be her last.

Please stay tuned to our blog for more news out of Danja, stories of the women we’ve served and updates on our progress.

To continue supporting the Danja Fistula Center — and help bring healing and medical care to thousands of women living with the agony of obstetric fistula — please make a tax-deductible one-time or recurring gift today. We thank you for your incredible generosity.

Photos: Worldwide Fistula Fund

Quick Impact Project Provides Education for Darfur Children

Did you know that the largest peacekeeping mission is currently in Darfur? After the civil war erupted in 2003 between the government of Sudan and rebel groups the African Union and the United Nations partnered to create UNAMID – African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in 2007. Now at over 19,000 peacekeeping military personelle and over 6,000 police the UNAMID is charged with protecting civilians, promoting human rights, monitoring the Chad and Central African Republican borders and ensuring agreements are kept.

The UNAMID has recently opened several Quick Impact Projects (QIPS) in northern Darfur in the areas of education, sanitation, health, community development and women empowerment.

Teacher Rauda Abbakar (above) leads schoolchildren from Kuma Garadayat on a tour of six new development projects, known as Quick Impact Projects. They include a clinic, a women’s’ centre and several schools.

Learn more about the UNAMID on the UN.org web site.

How to Help End Seven Tropical Diseases

Our friends and partners at END 7 are on a mission to end seven tropical diseases by 2020. This week they have rallied celebrity support to help raise awareness about some of these neglected diseases like  hookworm, river blindness, and schistosomiasis.

According to Red Pages, Katy Perry, Slash, Ewan McGregor, Stella McCartney, Alyssa Milano, Danny DeVito, Amos Lee, Norah Jones, Tom Felton, MC Hammer, Aaron Neville and The Kooks are among a host of celebrities supporting the END7 campaign. They are reaching out to fans via Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness and encourage people to support the initiative that looks to eliminate seven neglected tropical diseases by 2020.

You too can help save children from these neglected tropical diseases. Did you know that if you simply spend $.50 you can treat and protect a child for a year. Please consider donating to End 7 so they can deliver these fantastic medicines to children so they can grow into healthy adults.

Why African Women Are Dying of Cervical Cancer

With so many communicable diseases plaguing the African continent we often forget about the non-communicable diseases that ravish its people as well. Did you know that cervical cancer is the number one cancer killer of women in Africa? Taking the lives of roughly 270,000 African women each year, Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, has been studying the rate of cervical cancer in women with HIV/AIDS. They found that women who are HIV positive are two to three times more likely to test positive for cervical cancer than women who are HIV negative. In fact, every two minutes an African woman dies of cervical cancer.

Women who are diagnosed and treated early have a greater chance of survival. However cervical cancer testing and prevention services are scarce. The good news is cervical cancer is preventable. Learn more about Jhpiego’s single visit screen-and-treat approach and help them save women from succumbing to cervical cancer at jhpiego.org.

Ask Congress to make a mother’s fight their fight!

Every single day, 1,000 mothers — some unaware they carry HIV — transfer the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without treatment, 50 percent of HIV-positive infants will die before their second birthdays. With your help, we can eliminate pediatric AIDS, and protect mothers and babies worldwide. Lawmakers face many tough budget choices this year, but continuing to fund global HIV/AIDS programs should be an easy one. We are at a crucial moment in the effort to create an AIDS-Free Generation and need to keep the momentum going.

As policymakers descend on Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference, ask congress to make a mother’s fight their fight! Please use this link to write your Senators and Representatives a letter to keep Congress committed to this fight and oppose cuts to global health programs. We also urge you to ask your readers and followers on your blog and across your social media channels to use the link and get involved too. The more mothers, the greater the impact we can have!

Our friends at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation have provided Facebook covers that you can rotate and add to your profile page. Feel free to grab any of the covers below.