Esther Atieno, a mother of four, has suffered from VVF for a period of seven years. The 27 year old hails from Mbita district – Nyanza province (300km North West of Nairobi). The problem began way back in 2005 as a result of prolonged labor. “It was a painful experience” she recalls. She remembers going back and forth to hospitals for medical attention but still continued leaking. All she could do was to use old pieces of cloth to prevent leakage since she could not use her new baby’s napkins. “I felt like a young infant, since I wore pieces of cloths as my child used napkins”
This was so frustrating considering the fact that she had to carry four sets of clothes to change every now and then as she worked. “My husband could not stand me any longer and so he married another wife even after giving him four children”. He refused to educate the children and provide for them. She was left to struggle alone as even her in-laws did not help. They did all they could to mistreat and humiliate her.
Esther was earning a living by selling water at a nearby water pump in her village. They survived with the little money she earned. She lived an isolated life because her friends also did not want to be associated with her they even ridiculed her at the slightest opportunity they got. She could not go to church or any social gathering. All Esther knew “were my four children who always put a smile on my face and gave me hope to move on with life again”.
One day, she heard a program on radio talking about a free VVF medical camp. She hurriedly told her husband who did not show any concern at all. She had to borrow money from her sister for bus fare to travel since the husband refused to travel with her to hospital to get free treatment. She is now glad that the burden she had carried for seven painful years is now over.
“It’s only God who can bless AMREF as my dignity and self esteem has been restored. Thank you so much” she says with tears in her eyes.