Free fistula treatment restores hope and dignity for women in Kismayu

Photo| Haween lagu sameeyay qalliin isku-furan looga daweynayay isbirtaalka Kismaayo/Jaamac Joofane/Ergo

(ERGO) – Yurub Ali Hassan, 28, can see a new future opening up in front of her after undergoing successful fistula surgery in Kismayo town, southern Somalia.

She had been leading a normal life until six years ago when she was attended by a traditional birth attendant.

The labour was horrendous and long, and she gave birth to a baby boy.

Following delivery, Yurub suffered obstetric fistula, a stigmatizing injury that leaves a woman unable to control her urine or faeces.

“This was a thorn to my life, I had little information about any corrective measures. After staying at home for a while not knowing what the problem was, I visited a doctor who examined me and diagnosed me with fistula,”Yurub told Radio Ergo.

Early this month, Yurub, a mother of two, heard the news from a relative.

Days later, she underwent the reconstructive surgery at the hospital.

“I was registered along with several other patients at the hospital. I underwent operation last Monday [3 December]. I thank God, I am fine now. To me this was a golden opportunity from heaven, I pray for quick recovery,” she said.

The free surgery camp treated 20 women, with support from the diaspora community in Australia.

According to Dr Ahmed Mohamed Hussein, the director of Daryel Hospital, the campaign aimed to restore the dignity of women and girls with fistula and to enable them to return to their normal lives in the community.

“In the first phase, we planned to treat 20 patients with fistula-related complications caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment. We completed the operations successfully,” Dr Ahmed told Radio Ergo.

Faduma Abdikadir Hassan, a 25-year-old mother, developed fistula four years ago after she gave birth to twin girls in a rural area in Ethiopia.

The second baby’s shoulder became stuck behind her pelvic bone, blocking the rest of the body from coming out.

According to Faduma, the birth attendants and relatives became frustrated at the long labour and left the room leaving her alone.

“I was left alone to suffer. I underwent very painful labour but finally the child pushed its way out and I suffered severe injuries,” she explained.

Faduma travelled a long way from her village in eastern Ethiopia to access the services in Kismayo. When she heard the announcement from a vehicle loudspeaker for free fistula operations being performed at Daryel hospital in Kismayo, she contacted the hospital and became one of 20 women to receive surgery this month.

Faduma is recovering several days after the operation and is already going about her life with ease and comfort.

Abdiaziz Abdifatah Farah, a member of Melbourne Somali Community, said it cost $12,000 to perform reconstructive surgery for the 20 women.


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