13 Oct Fistula surgery saves Kumari from 50 years of despair
Thanks to INF/UK supporters, more women suffering from incontinence caused by an obstetric fistula (caused by complications during childbirth) are discovering life-changing treatment at INF Nepal’s Fistula Centre in Surkhet.
Kumari is about 70 years old and lives in Rolpa district. Married at seventeen she has given birth to nine children, all delivered at home with only family support. At that time there was no hospital in the district should a woman have difficulty in labour. Sadly, three of Kumari’s sons were born dead or died very soon after birth and a little daughter also died in infancy.
In her second delivery Kumari developed an obstetric fistula. Two days later she found that her urine started to leak continuously and she could not control it. She also developed ulcers from the urine burns and was in a lot of pain.
Despite this she soon had to take on all the work in the house as well as gathering firewood and grass for the animals. She had to walk far to collect water, carrying her babies as well as the water pot, while urine soaked her clothing and ran down her legs.
At times Kumari was so ill and weak that she could not cook food for her children. She told us: “I wished I could die but I still lived – for fifty long years.”
Last year some of the local health post staff received training about obstetric fistula and learned that there was treatment for women like Kumari at INF’s Fistula Centre in Surkhet.
After a long wait due to the Covid pandemic, in February 2021 Kumari travelled with her husband and son to Surkhet, borrowing money from her neighbours to pay for the journey.
In the Fistula Centre she was prepared for surgery to repair a little hole in her bladder which had destroyed fifty years of her life.
After the surgery there were two more weeks to wait until the catheter was removed and Kumari knew that she was cured: “I am really dry, no leaking at all! I never dreamed that I could be really well. It cost us nothing. Food, travel cost and surgery, all was provided free of cost. If I had had to pay, I could never have had this treatment.
“Only I know the pain and burden of these fifty years of incontinence and struggle. Now I can live a normal life and do all that I need to do and no one will hate me anymore. I don’t want to die now; I want to live long and enjoy the new life which I have been given and I am so thankful for the Surkhet Fistula Centre.