As a trained midwife, Barnabus Mulenga acts as a mentor and counselor to pregnant women, helping them with family planning and deliveries. What sets Barnabus apart from other midwifes, however, is that he’s also a fistula nurse, acting as a mentor to other nurses about the best ways to treat fistula patients. “I love this…
Twenty-six-year-old Prisca Nachivula had a cesarean section in 2010, but afterwards, she started leaking urine. The baby was just a few hours old and passed away, she said.
In 2014, she went to Mansa General Hospital and received help for a fistula. But unfortunately, she had multiple fistulas. She was told to return to get treatment on the other fistulas but didn’t have the money for transportation, so she returned to her home village in Mbala District.
Prisca thought she was going to have to live with the agony of fistula forever. She said the scent is the worst part about the injury. Though she remains with her husband, he brought on two more wives.
But then her uncle heard about a program that helped women with fistula through the radio. Since 2017, Fistula Foundation has been conducting outreach via radio programs in 21 districts, reaching nearly 3,000,000 listeners about the medical and social complications that arise from the ailment.
Because the phone number for Fistula Foundation is shared on the program, Prisca was able to get the number. Finally, she thought, she could get the necessary help she needed.
But there was a problem. Her village wasn’t able to get network connectivity to make phone calls, so she was unable to call the foundation’s hotline.
Because of the fistula, Prisca was unable to talk to a nearby area where phone connectivity was better. Fortunately, her uncle walked and made the phone calls on her behalf.
Prisca said she was encouraged by the radio program because she heard previous testimony from women who had received treatment and heard that there would be money for transportation.
“This is an opportunity I can’t miss,” she said she remembers thinking.
Today, Prisca has traveled to Chilonga Mission Hospital in Mpika to undergo surgery to fix her fistulas. She said she’s very excited and grateful for the work of the Fistula Foundation.
This story was written by Kristi Eaton in 2018 for Fistula Foundation’s Writer in Residence program.
- Population: 15,510,711
- Average Births per Woman: 5.67
- Female Literacy: 56%
- Population Living in Poverty: 60.5% (less than $1.25/day)