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Overcoming a frustrating condition

Sarah Naiku’s heart skips a beat whenever the thought of adding another baby strikes her mind. Sarah, a mother of one, says she is not sure whether she will add another child to her life.

Sarah, 33, narrates the events of what happened in 2021 as if they happened yesterday.

“Just like most new mothers, I had prepared to receive my firstborn child. I had planned the hospital I will deliver in and so on,” Sarah kicks off the interview.

Sarah a single mother says she didn’t expect that the day she received her firstborn child would change her life negatively. “My child came earlier than expected but I was lucky to have a traditional birth attendant to assist me in delivering,” she notes.

“I suffered some perineal tears during delivery, but I didn’t know they were worse since I was a first-time mother. After delivery, I decided to visit the hospital and it’s here I realized all was not well but the fact that I didn’t have enough resources I couldn’t go on with medication,” explains Sarah.

Local dispensaries are not able to treat the condition and they refer you to a bigger hospital where most of the time are far from residents.

Sarah notes that fistula is so frustrating that it cuts a person’s relationship with her friends and relatives as one doesn’t want to expose herself to the stigma it brings.

“It’s a humiliating condition. It’s automatic that people start avoiding you. You will find that once people realize you have such a condition, they start backbiting you and none of them is bold enough to ask what is happening or ready to help,” says Sarah.

She notes that most people don’t know about fistula, and some think it’s a curse. The fact that people don’t open up about it has made the information about it scarce.

“I think fistula is among the worst condition as it even hinders you from making a living. You live in fear all the time,” she says.

She points out that the condition has hindered her from engaging in a relationship that can lead to marriage. “You can’t even try to entertain a relationship because you might get heartbroken. Few people would start a serious relationship with a person with the condition. A lot of times, to avoid heartbreak, you decide to stay alone even when you see potential suitors,” she says.

Sarah adds that the condition also makes one lose self-esteem hence affecting personality which has ripple effects on a person’s productivity.

She notes that she heard about the Flying Doctors Fistula Campaign via the radio and since she had longed for such an opportunity, she wouldn’t have let it pass.

“I received the information about it via Royal Media Services and that’s when I decided to come and find out whether I could get help. I paid Ksh 2500 from Narok to Tharaka Nithi to come for the treatment. I am grateful I have been treated and so far, so good,” Sarah says joyfully.

Sarah notes that she is expectant, that she will go back to her normal life and engage in nation-building activities like other people.

“I am grateful to God and the Flying Doctors Society of Kenya. They have given me a reason to smile. I am now okay and ready to start mingling with people freely without fear like I used to do before. My focus will now be to look for a better job so that I can provide for my child without straining too much,” she notes adding that she has been in a fistula prisoner for the last four years.

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