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Kenyatta National Hospital: Hellen (20 yrs)

Hellen is a 20 year old lady from Narok that we met during the Kenyatta VVF camp. She is single and has no children. Hellen got both VVF and RVF in 2007 when she was delivering her first child. She was 17 years then. After 3 days of labor, she had a still born. She delivered at home with the help of her mother and her sister. It was then that she realized she could not hold both urine and stool. Her mother abandoned her and blamed her for getting a child at such an early age, and for developing an abnormal disorder. Since, she said many women had given birth and none of them leaked urine or stool.

She has since then been seeking treatment on her own. She helps her neighbors in their farms and also does other menial jobs to be able to get a few shillings for a treatment. She first sought treatment at Narok Hospital in 2007. Here she was given medicine and told to sit on salty water then discharged after a week. There was no change and so decided to seek treatment elsewhere. This led her to Tenwek Mission Hospital, she was again given medicine and told to go back after 2 weeks but she did not. She instead went back to Narok hospital where she was referred to Machakos for treatment since it was cheaper. She struggled to find her way there but while doctors told her they couldn’t offer the help she needed and she was referred again to Kenyatta National hospital.

At KNH, she was screened and asked to come back in January for surgery. But due to the Post Election Violence that occurred that year she was not able to travel to Nairobi in January. She showed up in April of 2008 and underwent a successful RVF repair and went back home.

She turned up this year for treatment and hopes that she will heal completely this time round.

You can see in her eyes that Fistula has affected her life and she is desperate to get better and get back to having a normal life. Her family and community have isolated her due to her problem and she says that no one cares about her. She has even tried committing suicide a number of times and has even undergone treatment for depression.

She feels depressed and stressed out because of her problem as she doesn’t even have a social life.

She has suffered a lot and would advise other girls who is her age bracket to abstain from having sex at an early age, and to always go to the hospital when they discover that they are pregnant. She is thankful to AMREF for giving her treatment and for the concern they have for mothers.

She hopes to pursue a course in computer and go ahead to develop a career.