Healing from Fistula, is a story she will live to tell

Its January 2016,seated in her small front yard , she is consumed in thought. Hers is a life of despair, isolation and self-pity yet she does not dream of a day this will all come to an end. She is at the verge of losing her much cherished marriage but that’s not the only problem. Down in Nyaruguru district, Caritas Musanabera suffers fistula,an abnormal opening that connects the female productive organ to another organ, such as bladder, colon or rectum. Fistulas can develop as a result of an injury, a surgery, an infection or radiation treatment. In Musanabera’s case, she developed Fistula after a caesarian operation but unluckily her baby never made it.

For the past eight years, Musanabera has been rejected by her own family over her unpleasant smell due to the condition. And now, her only rock, her husband has decided to let her go, he cannot stand the smell anymore. In her community, Musanabera is treated as a dirty outcast, save for a few community health workers who come in once in a while to console her.

“But that kind of consolation was never enough, I had spent 8 years having to pad myself with thick cotton fabric and polythen paper to avoid the embarrassment of dripping in public. It was the most discomforting period ever,” narrates Musanabera.

31 year old Musanabera’s rescue comes in through a community health worker.

“I recall the day as if it was yesterday, she came home, told me to get ready that at Munini hospital they were providing fistula interventions,”says Musanabera.

After comfirming that the operations would be totally free of charge, Musanabera gave it a try and the rest is history. She is now free from Fistula and her family, husband don’t treat her like an outcast anymore.

“I am grateful to the Rwandan government and health system for granting me another chance to live a great life without isolation and disease. At Munini everything was totally free, ranging from the food to treatment. My doctor was understanding and friendly, the only person who did not treat me as an outcast,”says Musanabera.

According to Anastase Karemera, in charge of Health at Nyaruguru district, the first batch of Fistula victims were operated on and 9 got healed totally while the 5 will undergo another operation. The list has more 9 who will be operated on soon.

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