Tina

Tina's story is from 2012 and took place in Burkina Faso. In the 2010s approximately 22,000 women died annually in Burkina Faso due to clandestine abortions.

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    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

Tina’s story was told us by a scholar conducting research on post-abortion care (PAC) in Burkina Faso. 

Tina was a 39-year-old widow with three children, who had left her country of origin to join her sister in Burkina Faso. Three months after her arrival, she confided to her sister that she was four months pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

When one of the healthcare workers learned that she had had an abortion, they never returned to her bedside.

First, Tina tried to terminate the pregnancy by drinking a mixture of whisky and "Nescafe" (a common method for self-inducing abortion), without any success. After that, she decided to seek help from an abortionist. This woman was well-known in Tina’s workplace, as girls often resorted to her for an abortion. 

The abortionist took 30,000 FCFA (54 USD) from Tina to induce abortion. The procedure involved manoeuvring in her uterus, using a chisel. Afterward, the abortionist advised her to drink warm water and to take amoxicillin and ibuprofen. The same night, Tina began to bleed profusely.

After some hesitation, her sister took her to a medical center. Tina spent three days at the local medical center, but her problem was not properly diagnosed because she refused to talk to the health care providers. They suspected she had had an induced abortion and transferred her to a larger hospital, where she was treated for acute peritonitis. When one of the healthcare workers learned that she had had an abortion, they never returned to her bedside.

Tina went through two surgeries and had no means to pay for them, nor the given prescriptions. A healthcare worker who cared for her, dubbed “Tina’s Mom” by some colleagues, managed to raise enough funds to pay for her medicine (250,000 FCFA, or 450 USD) and surgery kit (63,000 FCFA, or 113 USD). Tina’s sister had been impossible to reach.

Tina did not survive her post-abortion complication and passed away while waiting for her third surgery.

Tina was eventually admitted to a new ward. Other patients who were hospitalized in the same room left because of bad smells emanating from her. Tina was unable to go to the toilet, and the room was full of insects. The caregivers also avoided the room. A couple of days later, Tina decided to go home to her sister’s house. Tina’s sister was scared that Tina would die at her place because their relatives in the native village in their home country would blame her. To avoid these troubles, her sister decided to hire a nurse to care for Tina at home. The nurse was given 3,000 FCFA (5,5 USD) per day. After providing care for five days, the nurse also gave up and advised them to go back to the hospital. Tina's sister was exhausted. She had no money left, and she had not paid her rent for two months, owing 50,000 FCFA (90 USD) to her property owner.

Tina’s health was deteriorating, and she was admitted back to the hospital where she received nutrients because she was too weak for another surgery. Tina was scared of her new hospital room. She was crying. A health care provider heard about her fear and said: "She killed and now she is afraid of death!” 

Tina did not survive her post-abortion complication and passed away while waiting for her third surgery.