Awatif Altayib Mohamed Hussain
Awatif Altayib Mohammad Hussein was married and pregnant with her first child at 16. She laboured at home for two days before she was taken to the hospital. Sadly, her baby did not survive the journey and Awatif developed obstetric fistula. Her family managed to raise money to cover the cost of treatment, but the first surgery failed.
Determined to ensure that other women not suffer as she had, Awatif decided to become a midwife; and in April 2007 graduated from midwifery school. In May 2007, after living with fistula for seven years, Awatif received successful treatment at a UNFPA-supported outreach in Zalingei, West Darfur. Awatif continued to educate communities, assist women to access fistula treatment and provide essential midwifery care to help prevent devastating maternal health injuries.
Awatif is a health care provider and a powerful advocate for change. With support from UNFPA, she was part of the first ever fistula delegation to the Women Deliver Conference, October 2007. She opened the plenary session, “Working on Common Ground”, offering her testimonial as a fistula survivor in a conflict-torn region and calling for peace in Darfur to ensure reproductive health access for all. At the RH in Emergencies Conference 2008, Awatif spoke on a panel addressing fistula in emergencies–putting out a call for emergency transport and comprehensive care to prevent fistula and save lives.
Awatif continues her work in Darfur, conducting outreach sessions with communities about fistula prevention and treatment. She travels long distances on foot – facing unsafe conditions – to ensure women have access to information and midwifery care. Awatif continues to be actively engaged with UNFPA – she worked at two UNFPA-supported outreach campaigns where over 145 fistula patients received treatment. UNFPA is committed to support her capacity development and empowerment, so she can continue this essential work.