Patient Stories: Naomi


Naomi is 52 years old and lives in a remote village within central province in Kenya. She has had six deliveries and all her children survived labour. During her third pregnancy however, all did not go well. She had a twin pregnancy and as usual attended the antenatal clinic at a health centre within her locality.

Having delivered twice before Naomi believed she was going to have another successful delivery and so she did not plan for a hospital admission. When labour started Naomi was assisted by a local traditional birth attendant and the first twin was delivered in a normal way. The attendant then realised that the second twin was not in a position that could be delivered vaginally.

The attendant advised Naomi and her husband that there was an urgent need to get transportation to the Hospital. Since it was late in the day, it was difficult to find a public transport vehicle to get to the nearest Hospital.  After a few hours Naomi’s husband managed to get a private vehicle to help transfer his wife to the district hospital. At the Hospital a caesarean section was performed and the baby was fine. All seemed ok at that point and everyone was happy that a solution had been found.

After a few days, Naomi realised she was unable to control urine and could not even feel the urge to empty the bladder. She returned to the hospital but the doctors had no solution for her condition. They did not know what to do or a place to refer Naomi to. Naomi was given a series of appointments with attempts to conservatively manage the condition but there was no success.

For 26 years Naomi lived a miserable life. She never wanted to interact with many people in fear that they would know her problem and look down on her.  Naomi’s husband chose to go through the difficult time with her even when there seemed to be no hope of getting better.

She had three more deliveries after this traumatic one and all children were fine.

In November 2014, Freedom from Fistula Foundation started an ambassador training program in Kenya and Laikipia, the county Naomi lives in was selected among the first four.   During this campaign and training Naomi was reached by some of the health workers who had been trained.  Naomi was very determined to travel to the city for treatment.

When FfFF started the new project in St Mary’s Hospital –Nairobi, Naomi was the first patient to receive treatment through surgery.

Naomi is now dry and says she feels as if life has restarted for her.