Obstetric Fistula is both preventable and curable.

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Thanks to the Fistula Foundation and WADADIA the problem with obstetric fistula is no longer a hidden condition.

Obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury caused by prolonged obstructed labour and characterized by continuous leakage of urine and/ stool via the birth canal causing foul smell. The conditions disrupts the socioeconomic well-being of the women. OF especially afflicts impoverished girls and women living in remote regions without adequate medical services.

 

The ladies in uniform are fistula survivors who are under the WADADIA rehabilitation and reintegration center.

 

PREVENTION.

The condition is preventable, most effective ways to prevent obstetric fistula include:

  1. Delay Marriage and child bearing until the girl is sexually mature and her body, especially the bony structure of the pelvis is ready.
  2. Advise parents to give the girl child proper nutrition for normal growth.
  3. Educate and empowerment for women. When girls get the chance to go and stay in school the cycle of poverty is broken and the age of marriage is delayed.
  4. Deliver at a health facility that ensures that a skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care is available.

 

Treatment and care.

Obstetric fistula is treatable with life transforming surgery. The foundation understands the magnitude of this condition and it’s supporting fistula services in the country.

There are selected hospitals in the country that offer fistula treatment services free of charge namely.

  1. Gynocare women’s and fistula hospital-Eldoret
  2. Cherangany nursing home- Kitale.
  3. Kisumu county hospital –Kisumu.
  4. Kisii Gynocare fistula center –Kisii.
  5. Jamaa mission hospital- Nairobi.
  6. Bomu hospital- Mombasa.

Are you or someone you know experiencing leakage of urine or stool?

Call this number for free screening and referral:

+254 717 492 526.

Together let’s make fistula history in Kenya.

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End Of Discrimination.

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Obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury caused by prolonged obstructed labour and characterized by continuous leakage of urine and/or stool via the birth canal causing foul smell.

The condition is associated with stigmatization and  patients are often ostracized. On this week’s issue we focus on 44-year-old Celestine as she shares her struggles with fistula.

“I stopped attending community gatherings because everywhere I sat or slept I left a mark, and people would talk so much about my condition. I was embarrassed and alienated. I was helpless, I was lost”, she painfully narrated to WADADIA.

Wadadia’s Madam Florence Nanjala conducting Celestine’s third follow up visit.

 

Like many fistula survivors, Celestine felt alone, a burden and discriminated by the community.

At the age of 12, she was forced to marry a suitor who would help fend for the family. They lived in Mukweya-Kakamega County. Their home was over 250km from the nearest hospital so she gave birth at home. Together they have seven children. She contracted fistula 16-years ago while giving birth to her twins, after a long obstructed labour that lasted over 72-hours. Celestine was fortunate enough because her twins survived, but she was left with fistula to deal with. Traumatized and depressed, she missed her former life.

We found Celestine just when she was from the village river.

Still, in some ways, Celestine was lucky. Many women with fistula are abandoned by their families. But Celestine’s immediate family was caring, especially her eldest son. But misfortune loves company, tragedy hit the family a week later after the birth of the twins as she lost her husband and their small hut collapsed leaving them with no home. Her eldest brother sheltered them for three days as her son spearheaded the construction of a house for them. She accepted the condition after several failed attempt to seek medical intervention due to the high cost of repair. Seeing her son drop out of school and concentrate on providing for the family was devastating- as was her life with her condition. Unlike most widows in her area, no man was willing to inherit her due to the foul stench.

But one day she got a call from Wadadia that changed her life. She was informed that her son had given out her number during an Action on Fistula outreach in the area, she was screened by Wadadia’s Madam Florence and referred to Cherangany Nursing in Kitale, which is one of the obstetric Fistula treatment centers in the country. At no cost she was wheeled to the operating room on 1/11/2017. And she was certain her ordeal was coming to an end.

“When I returned home my children were ecstatic, my son cried tears of joy. I must confess that the follow up calls and visits from wadadia have helped me get back my life and swing back to everyday chores. My twins are now full grown girls and in form two in a day school close by. I am able to go to the farm, I joined fistula support group which comes in very handy. I have been shortlisted to join the tailoring class come March this year.” States a happy Celestine.

A happy Celestine in the company of her twins.

“Thanks Fistula Foundation For bringing joy back to our home.” states joy the twin in blue blouse.

Celestine learned about the Action On Fistula, an initiative that is supported by The Fistula Foundation and organized by Wadadia was making a difference in thousands of women like her.

Meanwhile, her family is determined to convince more women to seek proper health care.

“People have been asking who treated me, I proudly tell them it’s Thanks to Wadadia, The Fistula Foundation and the Kind doctors in Kitale.”

 

Did You Know that Fistula is preventable, and can be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy and ensuring skilled birth attendance at all births?. The Fistula Foundation will not stop until fistula is history in Kenya.

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For Better Or Worse.

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Obstetric fistula is an injury sustained during prolonged and obstructed labor, causing a hole to develop in the birth canal. The condition affects women physically but also leads to social and economic difficulties due to the fact that these women are often cast out from family and the community. Unfortunately, Obstetric fistula remains one of the major contributors to maternal mortality despite being both preventable and treatable through free transforming surgeries at fistula treatment centers in http://www.viagrabelgiquefr.com/ the country.

On this week’s issue we visit Rachael a survivor for her second follow up. Hers is a unique story full of love and depicts that authentic love is real. After exchanging pleasantries’ we sit under her mango tree due to the very warm temperatures and hot climate. We spoke about her health progress, challenges and about other topics. Rachael takes us through her journey. The goal of this sit-down is to reach a wider audience. Eavesdrop on our new series, as she takes us back and forth.

Back story.

Rachael married the man she loved and adored in 2002. The two live in Malaa, Kakamega County. She states that hers was love at first sight. The bond between them was undeniably strong. Together they have two living kids. Her husband, Livingstone, who always sits beside her, has been her strongest support and cheerer. Through his boda boda(motorcycle) business he has been able to see her through ECDE training. Like most marriages they faced opposition from both families, despite all Livingstone is a hands on father, who deeply loves, provides for and protects his family. After her training she looked forward to getting employment but fate had a different twist for them. She discovered she was expectant and had to delay her job searching due to extreme morning sickness and swellings. This pregnancy unlike her past was different, she developed high blood pressure due to in-law issues. The 35-year-old suffered prolonged and obstructed labor lasting over 17 hours and had a still birth. Several days later she discovered that she was uncontrollably leaking of urine. She was weak, suffered both anxiety and high blood pressure attacks, her in-laws talked, blamed and isolated her but Livingstone stayed put.

Rachael and Livingstone when they visited the office today, 6/2/2018.

 

Current

Wadadia: Rachael when we did your first follow up visit, a week after the surgery you were a little off, like not involved in the moment, but on our second visit and calls you have been this vibrant woman who has her future figured out, take us through this journey.

Rachael: (Livingstone adoringly reaches for her hand) actually the first follow up was four days after the surgery, and exactly 4 months after I discovered I had fistula, Fistula can be a bit difficult to and scary to talk about. I had gone through immense pain and self-doubting, I had just buried my little girl, a beautiful baby girl I didn’t get the chance to know, I was going through the unique mourning and crying that only mothers who have lost their children resonate with. I was mentally numb. I was in a bad place.  It’s tough, and people can be mean, some including family theorized that it may be tied to some curse/ tradition. Not once did I venture out of our house, I was leaking, my husband tried seeking help, I was unemployed.

AUTHENTIC LOVE: Livingstone stood by me, he got our kids ready for school and dropped them off daily, and he took care of groceries and cleaned me, (she faces Livingstone), where many others would have walked away, you stayed. Constantly offering compassion, support, love and care. I know it hasn’t been easy, thanks you dear.

On the day they headed to Gynocare fistula treatment center.

THE TURNAROUND.

But one night my husband returned home happy, he stated that while at his boda boda business he attended an event, dubbed Action On Fistula where cases like mine were treated, that was happening at the market center where they park waiting for customers. He was optimistic, he let me sleep on it. I heard that surgeries were risky but he asked me to take that chance for him and our babies. After a lengthy discussion he called the number on the flyer, I was screened by one madam Florence and was referred to Gynocare Eldoret, I loved the care and services, I interacted with other patients who shared my predicament. I had a successful surgery, here I am, I am dry, I am back to my everyday duties, I can laugh as loud as I can without fear of leaking, my family is forever grateful. After the therapy calls and counselling, I got to open up and damn I felt freed, new like a heavy load had been lifted of me, Livingstone has also been one strong support system through my healing. Wadadia counselling helped me work on myself better, I am more positive.

She embraces psycho social support services

Wadadia: Rachael, Wadadia is delighted that you are now at a good place, Livingstone, most men in your shoes take off as soon as problems hit the family, but not you, we love the fact that you stood by your family. What is it about this marriage that you would fight this hard to protect?

Livingstone: First I would like to thank Wadadia and Fistula Foundation for giving my wife a second chance at life, my wife is back to normal thanks to your compassion, the treatment did not cost me a cent. To your question, Rachael is my soulmate, I married her for better for worse, and she stood by me.  We have this friendship that I adore, I grew up in abusive family set up and we always felt neglected, I want to break that cycle and give our kids a different outcome. We fought for this marriage hard, I can’t see myself without her, and she gives me this amazing peace and happiness. I want to give them my best.

Wadadia: Rachael, Looking back, are there moments you wish you had made better choices and what choices are you proud of?

Racheal: I wish I had called my husband earlier when I had the contractions, I was ignorant of fistula, sometimes pain rears its ugly head, but I take it in strides. I am thankful of Livingstone’s support, we grieved the loss of our baby together, we share a unique narrative and drifted closer, I am very appreciative of the wadadia support group, the sharing is deep and encouraging, the therapy helps me a lot.

WADADIA: Rachael parting shots?

RACHAEL: Thank you Wadadia for addressing the mental health of survivors, you are saving lives with the therapy sessions. I send my heartfelt appreciation to the Fistula Foundation. Women lets attend hospitals when we get pregnant, any small discomfort is a red flag, seek medical attention. To men let’s support our ladies. My husband looks forward to joining the WADADIA male involvement group. I am joining wadadia reintegration program as a computer and bead work student. I am very hopeful that I will gain employment soon.

WADADIA’S Kakamega County Field Officer Joined the couple.

We stop the interview there. We talk some more on other issues before we say our goodbyes since it’s very late.

We hope that Racheal’s experience will provide other young girls and women suffering from obstetric fistula to reach out to us and access help. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to survivors, their family members and others who have given generously of their time to help with this ongoing success stories.

 

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WADADIA FC.

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Wadadia FC ladies kick-started the year on a promising note. The team is famously known as Kick Fistula out of Africa under the Action on Fistula program and plays at the Kenya premier league level which is the top league in the system. The girls returned to the playground and their zeal and confidence is overwhelming as they take on other women soccer teams, taking fistula messages to other counties and scooping awards. These are the encouraging chants that are shaping the season. The team has trashed its opponents in pre-season friendly matches both home and away. The WADADIA advocacy and awareness ladies soccer team has so far won two tournaments in western Kenya ahead of the Kenya Women Premier League 2018 season.

Wadadia FC receiving an award after a match.
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The team had a two week pre-season training with a week review and training on matters fistula under the stewardship of the Assistant coach and Team manager Madam Florence Wanyonyi. The Goal of the program is to reach out to a wider public and increase awareness on Obstetric fistula. Wadadia FC seems to have had an impact, emphasizing that women experiencing uncontrollable leakage of urine /faeces should seek free screening and treatment at the selected fistula treatment centers in the country. At the core of the message is that fistula is both preventable and treatable.

The team receives mentor-ship and guidance from the organisation.

Wadadia management provides mentor-ship to the wadadia fc members. The girls have embraced the reintegration program where they access computer training, bead-work, sewing, catering, quilting and hairdressing. Majority have an intimate relationship with the psycho social officer where they share and get guidance on psycho social matters that they face. Some of the players are beneficiaries of education scholarships for higher education thanks to kind partners. Through these initiatives, the organization is very optimistic of the economic independence of the Wadadia Fc members.

The Kenya Women’s Premier League 2018 Fixtures are out and the season looks very competitive. Wadadia is happy and confident with the current wadadia fc squad. Join the movement, cheer our team and increase awareness of fistula prevention and treatment. Join #KickFistulaOutOfAfrica page and get the whole activity and events as they unfold. Together lets beat Fistula.

2018 FKF fixtures is out

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Quarter-Century Of Shouldering Obstetric Fistula.

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  • FIFTY-TWO-YEAR OLD JOSEPHINE WAS MARRIED AT AN EARLY AGE.
  • SHE BORE EIGHT CHILDREN but only three survived.
  • SHE SUFFERED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE HANDS OF HER HUSBAND.
  • SHE WAS LEFT LEAKING OF URINE FOR THE LAST 25-YEARS.
  • HERs HAS BEEN A LIFE OF GRIEF AND MISERY, HER STORY IS A TESTAMENT THAT ONE CAN PICK UP PIECES, MOVE ON AND FOCUS ON BETTER DAYS DESPITE DIFFICULT TIMES.
  • SHARING HER HEART RENDING STORY WITH WADADIA.

 

The Fistula Foundation in partnership with Wadadia are on shared mission to end Obstetric fistula in Kenya. They do this by increasing fistula awareness, reducing stigma and increasing referral of fistula patients for repair.

Obstetric Fistula: is a hole in the vagina and bladder /rectum as a result of prolonged obstructed labour without medical intervention. A woman or girl suffering from fistula will uncontrollably leak urine/faeces or both and it is associated with a strong odor smell.

During our sit down with Josephine, she gets candid on her personal battle with the ill Fistula and her desire to live the rest of her life to the fullest.

Josephine’s looks don’t betray the hardships she has been through in the past 26-years of her life. She is confident and has a glitter in her eyes that is quite appealing. The 52-year-old is happy and full of life.

A happy Josephine during her visit at WADADIA Head office.

Marriage

Married as a minor, Josephine has never known the joys of marriage, with humble back ground, her child hood life was difficult. The family struggled to make ends meet. It came a time when Life at home was unbearable. She and her sisters sought escape through marriage. Unfortunately she married a drunkard she barely knew and suffered domestic violence on the watch of her in-laws and children who did nothing to ease her pain. She bore eight children and labored in people’s farms to help cater for her children needs. None of her children was born in the hospital, the village had entrusted child-delivery to village old women, besides in the 70’s through 90’s hospitals were scarce and access to services could only be felt during mobile clinic services that one could not fully rely on.

Ill fate

She recalls the birth of her last born in the 90’s like it happened yesterday. She had successfully delivered her seven kids well in the previous years and was then expecting her eighth. Back in the days she states that having many children was a sign of strength on the part of the man and family planning was a rumor. She went into intensive labor that lasted for two days before she was able to get medical attention, but it was too late. She lost the baby and the prolonged labor left her with a fistula- that led to her leaking urine.  When her husband discovered her condition he abandoned her together with the children. Her condition raised eyebrows and was often the center of discussions among groups within her village. In a span of seven years she came face to face with the calamity of burying five of her children. The remaining children often questioned her condition. She felt ashamed. Josephine has known no peace. She was unable to fend for her family since nobody was willing to have her work for them. Her boys helped support the family. Her eldest son tried to seek help but the treatment options were quite expensive for the family to shoulder.

Wadadia’s Field Officer Madam Fatuma with Josephine.

Battling ill health.

Due to depression she lost weight. In moments of despair, she had several conversations with her creator and often wondered why He had forsaken her. Hope came to her, October last year 2017, when she heard of the availability of fistula repair surgery from a female Wadadia Field officer Fatuma, who goes door-door with information about Fistula. She took up the opportunity and after the verbal screening she was referred to Gynocare fistula center in Eldoret, where she underwent a successful surgery. A happy Josephine returned home and spread the word that fistula treatment is possible. After three follow up calls from the wadadia team, on 17/1/2018 Josephine paid wadadia a visit with the intent of joining Kakamega Fistula support group. After having a tour at the organization’s rehabilitation and reintegration center she settled on beadwork and computer as training areas that interest her.

Josephine solely blames stigma as the major reason as to why many women with reproductive health problems stay undercover.

By supporting fistula repair services and at the same time increasing community awareness on fistula treatment and prevention, Fistula Foundation hopes to ease the burdens of fistula faced by women and families within the communities in Kenya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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