Fistula: The restoration journey of Mma Fulera

Mma Fulera Yakubu getting ready to go to the market with her vegetables.

After she lost the courage to trade in vegetables – her  source of livelihood at the Aboabo market in Tamale – due to her fistula condition after her fifth birth, 40 years old Mma Fulera is now back to her business with higher aspirations.

Today, Mma fulera has returned to her spot in the market where she does not only trade in vegetables, but also have her friends and happier life.

Following her successful reconstructive surgery,  Mma Fulera reveals she has become an ambassador of fistula and has not relented on her efforts to spreading the news of reconstructive surgery to women living with the condition in the Northern region, something that she never knew of.

“My husband left me six months into the fistula condition little did he know I would receive a reconstruction surgery and have my normal life back”.

Mma Fulera is a mother of four beautiful girls and a resident of Choggu Yapalsi, a suburb of Tamale. Her fifth girl during whose delivery she got the fistula condition has died. All her births have been skilled birth at the Tamale Teaching Hospital where she is usually discharged few hours after delivery.

She was the first wife of her former husband Yakubu. Fulera recounts while in labour carrying her fifth born, she had to writhe in pain throughout the midnight till dawn when she was rushed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

After hours of labour, a caesarean section became the only option for Fulera, the caesarean section was successful. This was the second day after her admission at the hospital.

Spending some days on admission after delivery got her worried as that had never happened, she sought for answers and then she was told she had the fistula condition and had to use diapers. Days later, a urine catheter was inserted to contain the urine then she discharges.

“All my children have been skilled birth at the hospital, I have four children, all girls. The fifth one is late and I had her too in the hospital. I never got healthy after that birth… I stayed in the hospital for about 40 days and I was discharged to go home”.

She stayed in the condition for six months, soon her husband Yakubu got fed up with her situation and asked her to leave his house which she did. Fulera returned to her family house from where she made her weekly visit to the hospital for a change of the urine catheter but that had to stop as she could no longer afford.

This was where she started losing her friends because at this point one could smell the stench of the urine from a distance. She had to abandon her trade. Fulera recounts how she wept throughout each day of her existence.

“Tears became my portion, I stayed indoors weeping because even my neighbours would not come close to me especially my market friends”.

Little did Mma Fulera know she could get reconstruction surgery for free under the United Nations Population Fund fistula project. She is among the first batch of women who underwent the reconstruction surgery in Accra when the Mercy Ship arrived at the port.

“Nurses at the Tamale Teaching Hospital never told me my case could get corrected through surgery until one day a brother told me about it but he was not sure of the hospital that does the surgery. So I contacted a medical officer at the teaching hospital who told me of an impending visit of a foreign team.

“I was with some other women, we were sent to Accra for the surgery and back home we received training in tire and dye making as a source of livelihood”.

Today, Mma Fulera is back to the market trading her vegetables and has found joy again. Her smiles tells of a happy soul.

She reveals she has since become an ambassador in her community who tells women in the fistula condition about the possibility of getting reconstruction surgery.

“I have never missed a chance of telling women in this condition about the surgery, many women  are not aware of the surgery and some have died with the condition”.

Just like Mma Fulera, many have been rejected by their kinsmen due to their condition which they encountered while bringing a life to this world.

Between 50,000 and 100,000 new cases are recorded each day whiles about two million women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are living with the fistula condition.

Join the crusade of spreading the news of reconstruction surgery for our mothers who suffer this humiliating condition due to lack of good healthcare and poverty.

By Zubaida Ismail |TV3|3news.com


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