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Katra Ibrahim* is a mother of two currently living in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp. On 21 October 2015, at the age of 21, Katra endured labour for 48 hours. Things did not go as expected and she lost her third born. Katra also developed fistula. This condition occurs as a result of obstructed labour, a condition that encourages caesarian birth. Since Katra was delivering at home, with the help of a Traditional Birth Attendant, she did not get the medical services she needed to save her baby and prevent Fistula.
Due to the Fistula, Katra started leaking urine and had a lot pain in her lower abdomen. “I was still mourning my child when I realised I passed urine without knowing. It just leaked even when I was in public,” states Katra. For a long time, she didn’t understand why she leaked urine. She was restricted to her house as she felt embarrassed by her condition.
Katra found relief after attending the Amref Health Africa in Kenya free Fistula surgical camp at Garissa Provincial Hospital where she successfully underwent surgery.
Many women in her situation are often subjected to social stigma due to Fistula. In many communities in Africa, people believe that such women are cursed. In some instances, the women are chased from their homes and rejected by their communities. Katra counts herself lucky as her family was very supportive.
“After two years suffering from Fistula, I resigned to
the fact that I would never be cured,”
explains Katra now 23 years old.
“The surgery gave me hope. I feel like a new person with a new life,” she adds.
The young mother hopes to have another child in the near future, and hopes to live a normal life. She will be added to the 20,000 women that have so far received the free fistula surgery from Amref Health Africa’s Health System Strengthening programme. The programme is funded by CEI through Amref Health Africa in Italy.