Sika developed fistula when she was 20-years-old, giving birth to her first child. When Sika started to feel labor pains at home, she stayed there for a day before deciding to go to a local hospital. She labored at the hospital for another 24 hours. When the doctors saw that she was in distress, they took her into surgery and delivered her baby. Her child was alive, but was struggling to breathe. Sika’s son passed away shortly after his birth.
Sika stayed at the hospital for two weeks after the devastating loss of her child. When the hospital removed her catheter, she noticed she was leaking. Sika had never heard of fistula before; she learned of it through her own experience, and as she overheard her husband talk with other people about her condition.
Sika’s husband had heard of CCBRT and brought her for treatment immediately. While at CCBRT, Sika learned that her husband had taken another wife after their child was stillborn. The team at CCBRT soon noticed that Sika was experiencing severe depression. Facing overwhelming trauma, and unwilling to stay at the hospital for treatment, Sika went back to her family, and was referred for counselling. “I felt that there was no happiness, there was no hope,” she says.
Sika hated the smell that often comes with constant leaking. “I could smell my own urine and it made me feel bad. My husband was supportive to a point, but he remained unfaithful. I carried on working because there was no other way for our family to survive. When neighbors or community members mentioned my leaking to me, I held my emotions back and pressed on with my work.”
After a series of counseling sessions, Sika felt ready to return to CCBRT to complete her treatment.
“If the treatment for fistula hadn’t been free, she says, “I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Going into surgery this year, I felt a little nervous but was optimistic about my new future. “
When asked how she is feeling now, she tears up, and says she is happy to be dry. She believes her surgery was successful, and when she is released from recovery, she wants to become a tailor.
“I feel like CCBRT is home,” she says.