Patient Stories: Jumwa


Jumwa the oldest patient in Kilifi was not keen about coming for fistula treatment because she had attended two previous camps without the opportunity for repair, leaving her disheartened. This is her moving story.

50 years ago and at the bloom of her youth, 77 year old Jumwa was looking forward to the birth of her 2nd child. She grew up in Kidutani, an unmapped villge in Kilifi County, Kenya. A marginalized area with poor infrastracture and limited access to a health facility.

As she went into labour, Jumwa was all alone in her small hut, crying her heart out but no help in sight. She found therapy in walking around her compound because in her heart she knew her neigbours would finally hear her. This went on for three days when her sister went to visit her.

Her sister mobilized a few neigbours who were about 3 kilometres away and rushed Jumwa to St. Lukes Hospital. Jumwa could not comprehend what her doctor was explaining to her hours after the delivery, but something was definitely wrong.

Jumwa lost her baby and to make matters even worse she developed a fistula that left her leaking urine.

Life became unbearable living with the fistula. "I knew a bad spell on cast on me, how can this be happening to me? I remember the bad smell, the wetness, the shame and worst of all the disappointment I saw in my family. The feeling was all too awful."

In 2009, Jumwa heard of a fistula treatment in Coast General in Mombasa but she was too little too late therefore, she did not get the assistance. This devastated her losing all hope she had.

In 2016, the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Group from Kilifi County purposed to help women in their County in all apsects, one being restoration of dignity through health. They partnered with Freedom from Fistula Foundation, Flying Doctors Society of Africa, UNFPA and Them Mushroom and organized a FREE FISTULA CAMP in Kilifi. Through the team mobilization, Jumwa's grand-daughter, Mwafungo, heard of the good news and later shared with Jumwa. Jumwa was a little bit skeptical owing to her last experience but her grand-daughter insisted and off they set to Kilifi Hospital.

The smile on her face was a clear indicator how much that trip meant to her. On 18th May 2016, Jumwa received a successful fistula surgery and three days later, she was able to sing her heart out in joy and happiness because for a long while, she had forgotten how it felt to be dry.

We wish her all the very best in life.