A system of support: Meet Brenda & Oscar
Learn why Oscar is becoming a fistula ambassador.
Brenda had been living with fistula for almost a year when two CCBRT staff members knocked on her door last month during their outreach visit to Kagera Region. CCBRT staff go on fistula outreaches to rural areas in Tanzania, identified because of their high rate of home deliveries or low rate of skilled birth attendants — both are known to result in high rates of fistula. During these outreaches, our staff engages community leaders and local councils to raise awareness about fistula and CCBRT’s fistula services. We also engage our ambassador network in the region to continue to ensure appropriate, timely referrals for women suffering from fistula.
CCBRT staff met Brenda through one of the region’s fistula ambassadors. Brenda lives over 1,300 km from Dar, close to Uganda’s border. Brenda didn’t know what fistula was or that it could be treated. When she met with the ambassador and our staff, she was grateful to know what fistula was, but was worried about travelling so far from her home to get treatment. In addition to providing free fistula treatment, CCBRT is able to cover transport costs through the support of partners. After learning this and with the support of her family, Brenda made the two-day bus ride to CCBRT in Dar es Salaam.
After a month at CCBRT, recovering and learning from Mama Malinga and other CCBRT staff, it was time for Brenda to go home but she was worried about making the long journey back. Brenda’s husband, Oscar, heard this and started raising funds to travel to Dar and join his wife on her journey home. He was able to quickly collect 140,000 TZS from community members to support his journey costs. "I encourage men to support their wives who develop fistula. If husbands become sick, their wives would support them - and when a husband and wife have been through so much together, they need to stick together,” said Oscar. He was so inspired by CCBRT’s fistula services that he is now receiving training to become a CCBRT fistula ambassador—to educate and refer other women suffering from fistula in his community. Oscar especially wants to educate men in his community about how to support their wives and family members with fistula.