- 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.
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.
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.
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.