Martha Chepng’eno comes from Elburgon district in the Great Rift Valley, about 200km North West of Nairobi, and has lived with fistula for 13 years. She became pregnant at the tender age of 18 Years while still in primary school. She narrates that she labored for a period of 3 days before going to hospital; the nearest health facility is about 20 Kms from her home. On arrival at the hospital she again stayed in labour for 2 days before delivery. She was induced and told that the baby had already passed on and was later referred to Nakuru Provincial hospital, 150km North West of the Capital.
She stayed in hospital for a week and after surgery realized she had no control over urine and stool (VVF & RVF). Her problems began there. “My husband, upon realizing I couldn’t control urine and stool, took off never to be seen again. It was my parents who took care of me”. Martha says that she was hospitalized for 3 months because she couldn’t walk. She underwent physiotherapy and was discharged but had follow up sessions for another 3months. Later, the RVF was repaired and healed properly.
A year later she was repaired for VVF but it wasn’t successful. “I was really stressed, felt unworthy and sorry for myself when my husband left me. I am glad that my family is very supportive and stood by me despite it all. I learnt about the camp from our neighbor who lives in Nairobi after she heard about it on radio”.
Martha hopes to get remarried after recovery and even get children and this time will go to hospital immediately on onset of labour to avoid getting the condition again. She plans to start going to church again and to visit friends and start a small business of selling clothes or vegetables. “Undergoing this surgery has completely changed my life”.