Msonde is 82-years-old; she had her first child in 1958.
With the delivery of that baby, she developed an obstetric fistula that left her chronically incontinent. With access to high quality, emergency maternal healthcare, it is likely that this debilitating disability could have been prevented, and with knowledge about her condition, Msonde might have received treatment to correct her fistula.
The tragedy is Msonde lived with fistula for over 60 years.
“I managed to live with fistula for such a long time because of my husband’s support,” she says. “He ignored our family and our community when they used to stigmatize me. He was an exceptional husband. He never stigmatized me as others did. He always stood by my side.”
Even with her husband’s support, there were many challenges. Msonde went on to have 5 children, but did not have the support of her community. She voluntarily isolated herself from gatherings, and would avoid drinking water all day if she knew she had to go out in public.
This year, Msonde’s niece who lives in Dar es Salaam came to her village as a CCBRT ambassador. She explained what fistula was, and shared that treatment was available and free of charge. Msonde traveled over 700 miles to Dar es Salaam to be evaluated for treatment.
“When I arrived at CCBRT, I could not believe it was possible, but I found many women undergoing fistula treatment.”
Now sitting in recovery in the CCBRT Fistula Ward after a successful surgery, she raises her hands in prayer for her husband. “I wish my husband could have been alive. We are now old, but he could have been able to see me walking freely.”