Wednesday, 30 January, 2019
Four years ago, Nalotuesha Muli, 25, was pregnant with her fourth child.
Her joy and happiness came to a halt after having a stillbirth delivery assisted by a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA). After two days of labour, her life took a turn, the grief of losing her baby and later on leaking urine became too much for her.
The mother of three who hails from Maasai Mara Village in Narok County thought that giving birth came with a price and that leaking urine and faeces uncontrollably was a price she paid for being a woman.
“I gave birth through the help of a Traditional Birth Attendant. I was in labour for two days in my house. I struggled to push the baby out with the help of the TBA but unfortunately, I lost my baby due to complications,” recalls Nalotuesha. It was this birth that took the greatest toll on her self-esteem and dignity.
While trying to cope, Nalotuesha would mostly isolate herself from crowds or social gatherings due to the odour resulting from her inability to control her urine.
A local Clinician at her village heard a radio announcement about the Amref Health Africa supported free surgery and informed her. “A local health worker told me to go get screened at Kilgoris where specialised health workers were conducting free screening,” she said.
After the screening, she was told that her condition could be repaired through surgery. “They told me that I was suffering from fistula, I have never heard that disease. All these years, I thought my condition was normal to every woman who gives birth,” says Nalotuesha.
Obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum that is mostly caused by prolonged obstructed labour, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or faeces. Without treatment, fistula leads to emotional and social stigma. The misery of this condition is relentless. In spite of ones effort in proper personal hygiene, the leaking of urine and faeces makes it difficult to stay clean all the time.
She was one of many women suffering from fistula who benefitted from free fistula surgery repair at Narok Referral Hospital. The activity was conducted by the Amref Medical Specialist Consortium in partnership with the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Initiative.
Recounting her journey with fistula, she said, “I always felt embarrassed, my young child once asked me why I am leaking urine. I lied to her that it was not urine but sweat. It was devastating.”
Her condition affected her work; she could not go about her farming work or beading. She is a lucky woman because her husband supported and encouraged her at her lowest moments.
“My husband is very happy that I have received success fistula repair surgery. He is outside this ward waiting to take me home,” Nalotuesha said with a smile.
Her surgery was made possible through the partnership of Amref Health Africa and Beyond Zero Initiative which aims at accelerating achievement of Universal Health Coverage in the country.
“I thank God, I am now dry. I will always pray for surgeons and those that provided me with a free surgery. Now I can sleep without worries of waking up in wet clothes. They have changed my life completely,” she concludes.