Patient Stories: Sarah
My name is Sarah. I am 33 years old and am married with five children.
On Christmas Day 2007 I gave birth to my fifth child but it was a traumatic experience. I made it to a clinic but the medical staff rushed through things and did not examine me properly. They cut me up as the baby was too big but they did not stitch me up and I was sent home immediately.
I quickly knew something was wrong as my other deliveries had not left me like this. I was leaking faeces. After a few months a doctor told me I had a fistula but I could not afford the medical expenses for repair surgery so I opted to try to disguise the smell instead.
My condition caused a great strain on my marriage. I was too ashamed to tell him of my problem as I had never heard of anyone suffering from my condition and so I suffered silently. I continued suffering in silence until April 2011 this year when I saw one of the Freedom From Fistula branded buses with the hotline numbers on it so I was able to call.
In July, I had my free operation and I was cured.
Now I help other women like me. I did a radio advert explaining about fistula and the availability of free medical care and I also told my story in a local newspaper – my trials and my eventual triumph over this degrading condition.
"I am so grateful for the help offered to me. It saved my marriage and gave me back my dignity."