Jasmila Celina Kalama Charo is a 35-year-old lady residing in Malindi. Before speaking to her, I spoke to her caregiver who was very warm. When Jasmila comes to the phone, she sounds frail and tired but agrees to proceed with the interview.
Hers is a special story. Jasmila lived a normal, fulfilling life until 2017 when she went to deliver her baby. She was enveloped by the joy of being a new mother. She had great prospects for her growing family. Unfortunately, her joy was short-lived. Jasmila had to undergo a caesarean section and delivered a still-born child. To add salt to injury, she suffered a bladder injury which resulted in fistula. Jasmila was unable to control her urine flow.
She sought medical assistance and was given some medication. She was also asked to exercise to strengthen her pelvic muscles. These helped with the urine flow; however, her menstrual blood would flow out of the urethra instead of the vagina. This experience was not only uncomfortable but also traumatic especially because the flow was unmanageable. She went for several medical examinations but nothing solved or eased her condition.
Her condition severely affected her family and social life. She could no longer relate with her husband which strained their marriage. Further, she could not mingle with family and friends. Her movement and relations were constrained.
She reached out to friends and family for assistance but the reception was not the best. Some told her that she was cursed and needed to seek spiritual intervention. Some even recommended that she should reach out to native doctors for assistance. This only added to her misery and frustrations.
Luckily, Jasmila caught wind of the medical camp hosted by the Flying Doctors Society of Africa and presented herself at the clinic for help. She was assessed and scheduled for corrective surgery. On 28th March, Jasmila underwent the corrective surgery and is currently recovering.
Jasmila feels as though she has been given a new lease of life. She has high hopes for herself and her family. She promises to demystify the myths and change perceptions around fistula and empower women within her community. She is extremely grateful to the M-pesa Foundation and Flying Doctors Society of Africa for coming to her rescue.