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Happy to be living again

Twenty-Seven Years old Isnio Abdi is a happy woman. For the last seven years, Isinio has lived in shame.

Growing up, Isnio was charming and friendly. She loved being in crowds but her once happy life was cut short by a condition she didn’t have knowledge about. She has been forced to live a quiet life. She doesn’t congregate with other women. According to people in her community, she is a bad omen.

“I got a fistula in 2017 during the delivery of my firstborn. At the time I had just turned 21 years old,” Isinio kicks off the interview.

She explains that at the time she didn’t know about fistula leave alone she was ailing from it.

“Like most women in my area, I delivered at home through traditional midwives and therefore I didn’t know immediately that there was something amiss. I realized I had an issue after,” explains Isinio.

Isinio says that initially, she thought it was normal to have injuries after birth although she was not sure of the extent of damage. “I was shocked that I was not able to control my bladder and it was a persistent challenge. I enquired about it from my mother and sisters and they couldn’t understand it. It’s here I decided to seek medical advice,” says Isinio a Garissa County resident.

“It’s at the health center, she visited, she first heard about fistula. I had neither heard about that before nor had I come across someone suffering from it,” she narrates.

“The health center I visited didn’t have facilities to treat the condition they therefore referred me to another bigger hospital but unfortunately, I didn’t have the resources to go for treatment,” she speaks.

After a while, she realized some of her friends and neighbors were not comfortable with her and this saw her withdraw from them. “I knew I had a problem, and I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I decided to pull out from crowds,” she notes.

Isinio says how uncomfortable fistula patients are as they rarely know when they have soiled on themselves.

“Most of the time I would spend time alone in the house as I couldn’t do a lot in this condition.

Fistula cripples a person. It not only affects your social life, but it also affects you physiologically,” she notes.

Although the society alienated her, she is happy that her husband stood with her during all that time.

“Relatives didn’t have an issue with me. They gave me their support. They were understanding and they would always look for opportunities to help me,” adds Isinio.


For now, Isinio’s life has changed after undergoing surgery to treat the condition. “We have community health workers in my village and it was during their usual visit when they broke the good news about the medical campaign to treat fistula,” she says happily.

“First, I was worried since I thought it was a paid medical camp, but I felt a sigh of relief when they told me it was a free campaign,” she notes.

Isinio says that her husband is not a man of means and they couldn’t have raised the money even in a decade. “They told me about the campaign. I came, I was checked, and doctors found out that

I had a problem. I had been treated and now I am I well,” she remarks.

Isinio urges the government and other humanitarian organizations to look at issues affecting poverty-stricken people and make a difference in their lives.

“I am very grateful to The Flying Doctors Society of Kenya, Safaricom Foundation and The

Royal Media Services for restoring our dignity,” she concludes.

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