Salamatou Traoré addresses the health, social and long-term economic needs of Nigerien women who have suffered an obstetric fistula. A condition that affects very poor women in remote communities, fistulas rob women of their lives and are likely to reoccur, even when women undergo repair surgery. Traoré’s strategies involve not just treatment but prevention and social reintegration.
Traoré’s parents made sure she and her sisters were educated and that they learned to revere their teachers. Traoré also saw the respect her father held in the village, having been trained in the military to deliver basic medical care. She grew up to be both an educator and medical practitioner. As a midwife, mentor and trainer of midwives, she shares these talents with other women.
The center she founded, Dimol, connects women with resources that strengthen their bodies and allow them to re-enter their communities with dignity. Dimol provides respite care before and after surgery, which takes place at a hospital, and trains women to bring knowledge of health and hygiene, plus skills in soap-making, sewing and embroidery, back to their villages.
Thanks to Traoré’s advocacy, Cesareans are provided free to all women who have undergone fistula repair to ensure against reoccurrence. She has brought about lasting improvements in maternal care in Niger and positioned the most vulnerable women to take charge of their health.