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Joy as women freed from fistula shame

Brian Musyoka @ PeopleDailyKe

A Short Message Service (SMS) Wambui Thiga received and read reluctantly thinking it a was from cons has changed her   life — for good.

For the last two years, the resident of Kikuyu constituency in Kiambu county has been battling fistula, a stigmatising injury caused by childbirth complications.

Fistula causes incontinence and can also lead to infections, chronic pain and other problems.  The message was inviting women suffering from the disease for free screening and surgery and she decided to try her luck.

“I was too ashamed to leave the house because of the smell, I couldn’t see my friends. It was so hard being alone,” she said of her former condition at her hospital bed at Embu Level Five Hospital yesterday.

Thiga was one of the 15 women who successfully underwent free surgical treatment sponsored by Freedom from Fistula Foundation in partnership with Safaricom Foundation and Flying Doctors Society of Africa where more than 300 women from different parts of the country have turned up for the exercise.

Alice Kagendo, 60, a patient said she discovered she had the condition in 2015 but decided to keep it to herself to avoid shame. Kagendo, who was a catechist at Kiambuthi Catholic Church in Embu town said the condition made it difficult for her to continue with her religious duties and  relate well with family and friends.

Embu Health executive Dr Jamleck Muturi said women play a very important role  in the society and their health and dignity should be protected.

Tanya Nduati from Flying Doctor’s Society of Africa said they have held the free medical camp three years consecutively and this year, the camp registered the highest number of women who have turned up for screening and treatment.

Muturi said that all those patients in the wards will undergo surgery in course of the week adding that the 15 women are recuperating well in the wards.

He said the county government will partners with Freedom from Fistula and Flying doctors Society of Africa in training more doctors to aid those suffering with Fistula in the county calling for women to come out and seek help instead of hiding themselves.

Tanya Nduati from Flying doctor’s society of Africa said that the society has held the free medical camp three years consecutively and this year the camp registered the highest number of women who have turned up for screening and treatment.

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