- Those with fistula conditions have continued to be face trauma and stigma from the public
- Fistula can be corrected through an operation
- WHO says Obstetric fistulae can largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy, by the cessation of harmful traditional practices
Arua. “When I had fistula condition, I was abandoned, left school and I could not play or stay with my parents well because I had a condition where I smelled because urine was leaking from me.”
This was the narration of Ms Charlotte Ayiorwoth from Nyapea in Zombo district as she lived with Fistula that left many in tears, Ayiorwoth said that: “I did not give up with life after Amref came in 2014 and announced about the Surgery in Nyapea hospital. I was not feeling good to be among friends because I feared the smell. I know there are people out there who are out there not coming out openly, but this condition can be treated.”
Ayiorwoth is not the only one who has suffered from stigma in society about fistula, a condition where women who experience this preventable condition suffer constant urinary incontinence which often leads to social isolation, skin infections, kidney disorders and even death if left untreated.
Haggay Anguyo, whose wife suffered from Fistula, said: “We went through a terrible situation when my wife had fistula. But I didn’t leave her aside but we had to move with her to hospital in support because we had love. She faced a lot of stigma and a woman with fistula should not be abandoned. It is not good to marry another woman because of fistula because this can be repaired.”
Top: Ayiorwoth narrates her ordeal after she was treated from fistula but had faced stigma from the public. While officials from Ministry of health with banners calling for awareness of fistula. Photos by Felix
The Project Manager for Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) Health Africa in Uganda, Margaret Mugisa, said: “We have been able to repair 320 women in Northern Uganda and we want to reduce the number of 15,000 women who have been repaired from fistula in the country because we now have outreach camps to restore the lives of the women.”
“It is true that the in-laws, husbands run away from the women suffering from fistula. It is unfortunate that people still associate fistula with witchcraft and this has remained a challenge for us but we will continue with awareness,” she said.
World Health Organisation says Obstetric fistulae can largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy, by the cessation of harmful traditional practices and by timely access to quality obstetric care. It is estimated that more than two million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Numbers of women who have been corrected from fistula
Arua Regional Referral hospital-83
St Mary’s Hospital-75
Gulu Regional Referral hospital-42
St Joseph’s Hospital Kitgum-15