It was joy for a woman from Makueni County who had suffered from fistula for over 40 years after she solemnized her marriage at Mwaani Catholic Church.
Mary Wambua, donning a perfectly fitting white gown, could not wipe the smile off her face as she exchanged vows with her partner Cosmas Wambua.
Mary said the wedding was a celebration of her healing after she underwent repair at the new Fistula Unit set up at Makueni County Referral Hospital in a joint program between the county government and Jhpiego, an organisation affiliated with John Hopkins University.
“I am happy because the healing took place. My husband is also happy and he has been waiting for this day," said Mary.
Mary said she Wambua met in 1998 while they were working as casual labourers in Nairobi. She recalled how the condition associated with the stench had troubled her emotionally for years.
Mary said her husband did not know what she was suffering from until she received the treatment in March this year.
“Whenever my husband asked why I used to urinate in bed, I told him I had a stomach problem. My children did not know what I was suffering from," she said.
The mother of two said she realised she was suffering from fistula when she was ten years old. She said that her parents took her for treatment in different hospitals but they could not detect the condition.
Mary explained that when the impairment failed to show, her parents suspected that she had been bewitched and sought to solve the ailment through Kamba traditional practices.
“A bull was killed, blood poured on the ground and some pieces of the bull’s skin were tied on my hands to remove witchcraft from my body," said the 48-year-old. “When I was in school teachers and pupils would discriminate against me saying that I would infect them," she added.
Wambua said he did not separate with his wife even after they lost children due to complications associated with the condition.
“Some of my wife’s pregnancies aborted due to the disease. I am happy she is healed and we have wedded. I will continue living with her and supporting her," said Cosmas.
Mary Muthengi, an official of Jhpiego who graced the Saturday wedding, said they had started repair services for fistula patients and urged those suffering to turn up for treatment.
“Today we are witnessing that pact of social reintegration and rehabilitation of our patients. I call on fistula patients to come out and we will offer support and repairs," she said.
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