This is the testimony of Sefer who came from the North Gondar zone, Amhara region.
“My parents understood the harm of early marriage so I was lucky enough to get married at the age of 20. I was well thought on the duties and responsibilities of what a good wife has to be so I did not fear when I got married rather ready to show all my responsibility to do all the house chores nicely and get appreciated and ready to be a mother who gives the best care raising her kids. However, things did not work out the way I predicted. I could not get pregnant though we tried for 4 years. Assuming I was unfruitful thus my husband divorced me and sent me to my parents.”
Another chapter started for Sefer with a second husband. She remarried at the age of 25 and got pregnant at 29.
“During my pregnancy I had not attended any antenatal care follow up given at the health facilities nor went immediately for the delivery service when labor started. I stayed home trying for 4 full days. When the time comes that I can no longer handle the pain, I had to go to a health centre. the doctor said it was too late then referred me to another district hospital. Inevitably , Sefer underwent surgery to deliver safely .”
“When I woke up from surgery, they removed the catheter where II was leaking urine unfortunately. I was sent home because the doctors could do nothing for me.”
After returning home, Sefer had to live with fistula for 7 years. After all this time it was the government health extension workers who discovered her and brought to Gondar fistula centre.
“The 7 years I had spent were horrible. Divorced 2 times, delivered a dead baby, leaked urine and become a burden on my parents; I was ill-fated. The community out casted me so I was not called on social gatherings and people will cover their nose if they had to pass by me. I was a disgrace to my parents.
Truly speaking, I did not hope to be cured when I come to the centre. Seek medical advice in the health institution because the health extension workers could not leave me alone once they knew I leaked urine. I had neither hope nor vision hence believed I was cursed.”
Sefer’s surgery was successful. She shows off her hidden smile as she was speaking about her worst misfortune.
“After going under surgery and meeting other women who were like me but cured, I wished for a miracle to cure me too.”
“Courage and positive vision is the least word that I can use right now. I am envisaging brighter future with sense of self confidence despite the ill fated two failed marriages, living seven years with the horrible physical status and a dead baby. I rather fill that I owe big time the medical staff, the health extension workers, WAHA and the supporting community to make me once more again the energetic 36 years old SEFER”.