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She Found Healing...




“The pain in my body is gone!” Astou celebrated after a successful fistula repair and goiter removal.


For more than 20 years she lived through the pain of being unable to afford treatment. It was more than physical pain as she bore the loneliness and seclusion that came with the conditions. But she found healing in the #AfricaMercy. She says she is ready for a full life where she can reclaim her sense of self and actively participate in her community.


More than 20 years ago, while giving birth, Astou was left with an injury that could not be treated where she lives. Then, ten years ago, a goiter started growing on her neck. Unable to afford treatment for either condition, if it could even be found, she could only hope and keep moving forward with resiliency.

Recently, Astou received surgery on board the #AfricaMercy in Senegal. She is now free from both her seen and unseen burdens.


Astou's story reveals the plight of many women in Africa who endure obstetric fistula due to childbirth. For Astou, the injury led to the loss of her first child and left her leaking urine for years. Eventually, she also developed a goiter on her neck.

But Astou’s story turned into one of love and hope as she and her husband discovered Mercy Ships. She received surgery on board the #AfricaMercy to heal both conditions.

Now, Astou’s future looks different. She says she is ready for a full life, free of worries about her health.



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Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in sub-Saharan Africa. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.74 billion and treating more than 2.84 million direct beneficiaries. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 60 nations, with an average of over 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and our Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations.


Photo Credit: Judit Maier

Music Licenses: MB01N1YQIAITRSH


Story by the Mercy Ships Communication Team

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