This is the story of Azi, who came from Chilga town, located in North Gondar zone, Amhara region. Azi is one of the victims of early marriage at the age of 13 forcibly by her parents’ decision. Currently she is 30 years old with 4 children. She was only 15 when she had her first born, this is the age where most kids are in the 9th grade if joined school.
Contrary to most of obstetric fistula victims who experience it on their first pregnancy, Azi countered obstetric fistula when she was trying to deliver her 5th pregnancy. Although the health care workers advised her to come to the health center when she would see signs of labour and contraction or when her water would break while she attended her prenatal follow-up, she did not go immediately when her water broke. She stayed home for more than a half day waiting for the labour contractions and cramps to start. Nevertheless when she was not feeling the contractions, she went to the health center and they immediately referred her to a hospital. After following her for a day she delivered by surgery operation a dead child.
After Azi woke up from surgery she heard this tragic news by the care giver and she noticed that she could no longer control her urine. This situation was never expected in her mind because giving birth to a child was not new to her – she did it 4 times before this one. Inside the hospital the care providers followed her for a few days to see if she could regain the ability to control her urine.
Azi’s diagnosis for obstetric fistula was confirmed and she was referred to the Gondar fistula center. This referral avoided her the exposure of humiliation and isolation she would have to face by her relatives and neighbours if she would have gone back home. She was admitted in Gondar fistula center for about 4 months, waiting for her uterus to get back to its natural state before she was operated by WAHA’s fistula surgeon. The operation was successful and Azi is cured now.
She explained that it was humiliating for her to see herself leaking urine like a little child. It was smelly and it forced her to isolate herself from the other types of patients admitted in the hospital. Today, Azi considers herself fortunate and is thankful she did not see her relatives before being cured. In addition, she feels sorry for the women who are suffering for years without knowing the treatment availability and considered as cursed and below the status of a pet inside their family’s house. Azi promises to promote the treatment availability in the center if she sees any woman in her village with such condition.