Patient Stories: Ndongu


Ndongu is 68 years old, lives in Kenya and has been suffering with an undiagnosed obstetric fistula for 37 years.

Ndongu never attended school and as a result was married off in her mid-teens.  She went on to have 9 children, 8 of whom she delivered successfully at home.  The 9th delivery changed her life.

In active labour for close to 24 hours Ndongu eventually gave birth to a baby boy.  Damaged during delivery Ndongu realised after a few days that she had lost control of her bowel.  At a time when Ndongu and her family should be celebrating and welcoming their son into the world she was left damaged, distressed and devastated by her fistula.

Over the years Ndongu sought medical advice but she was left to struggle alone with her symptoms.  Nobody told Ndongu they had seen anyone else with a similar illness and she was left feeling there was no cure, that she was bewitched making her despair that she'd ever receive help.

"Mothers condition bothered me from a young age, doctors told her it wasn't a big issue so she was left to suffer.  When I qualified as a nurse I told one of the doctors I worked with about my mothers condition and she was referred to a gynaecologist.  Sadly she couldn't raise the money required for the surgery" - Joyce (daughter)

Ndongu's life changed for the better when her daughter Joyce, who is a nurse, happened to be recruited and trained during our ambassador training programme in Kitui County.   After her training Joyce returned home and told her mother about Freedom From Fistula, that she had found treatment and that she wouldn't have to pay anything.

Joyce, together with her youngest brother bought Ndongu to the clinic and she was repaired successfully.