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I was sinking into depression

Betty Kagemi is a 26-year-old mother of two living in Magutueni, Tharaka Nithi. She sounds excited as we speak. She is just getting discharge from hospital where she successfully underwent corrective surgery for recto-vaginal fistula on 23rd May.

Betty first developed fistula while delivering her first child in February 2020. She had prolonged labour. Her water had broken, and she suffered labour pains for 2 days before she finally delivered the baby.  When labour began, Betty was in excruciating pain. She went to hospital as she thought her delivery time was close. When she got to the hospital, the doctor admitted her but told her to wait and left her unattended. Whenever she tried to inform the nurses of her pain, they ignored her. She then felt the urge to push the baby out and walked herself to the delivery room where she still did not receive any assistance. Without any support, Betty lay on the bench and pushed out the baby. The baby let out an ear-splitting cry that then attracted the students on training to run to her aid.

During the delivery, Betty had suffered tears which were stitched. However, after three days the stitches came apart. During these three days she also realized that she had uncontrolled flatulence through her vagina and had a foul smell. She went back to hospital, but they did nothing to assist her. The nurse who attended to her informed her that the stitches were poorly done and because it had already healed, there was nothing that could be done.

Her situation was quite embarrassing, and she was sinking into depression. She could not mingle freely and was confined to the routine of going to work and returning home. Her husband who she thought would be her strongest support system abandoned her. He worked in a different town and reduced the frequency of coming home. She tried to keep busy at work which helped her get her mind off her problems. She explained her situation to her employer, and they indulged her. Despite being able to attend work, she was still unable to freely mingle or have a social life.

Betty decided to get pregnant with hopes that during her second delivery, the problem would be corrected. This was however not the case. Betty delivered her second child in October 2021 via caesarean section which did not offer her a solution to her problem. The doctor who assisted in delivery informed her that the stitches were not professionally done but did not offer a solution. This was heart breaking for her.

One afternoon in May, Betty received a call from the matron at the district hospital informing her about the medical camp, and she purposed to attend. She came to the district hospital for screening and assessment and was identified as a good candidate for the surgery.

Betty says she is feeling better and is now comfortable to sit with others. She is extremely grateful and wishes God’s blessings upon M-PESA Foundation, Beyond Zero, UNFPA and Flying Doctor’s Society of Africa. She urges women to get help and not feel embarrassed to speak out about fistula because it does not choose its victim.

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