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Hope in Harar: Sartu’s story

Sartu, 20, grew up in a small town around 200 kilometres from the city of Harar and had a happy childhood. Her town had good social services and she gained a good education with her family supporting her to go to school until she was 16, when she got married.

Two years later she became pregnant for the first time and throughout her pregnancy had good access to ante-natal care at her local government health centre. She was overjoyed to give birth to her first daughter, who is now two years old, and with such a positive experience of birth and motherhood soon became pregnant again a year later.

Familiar with the staff and services at her local health centre, again Sartu attended all her ante-natal appointments and when she went into labour for the second time, she again went to the health centre for her delivery. However, after nearly a day in labour, it became clear to the staff at the health centre Sartu’s baby was in the wrong position and she needed to go to hospital.

A different path

She was taken to the nearest government hospital and supported to deliver a baby boy. However, sadly after three days, as a result of the traumatic labour her baby passed away. In her grief, Chaltu was told she had suffered complications as a result of her labour and developed a fistula.

The doctors immediately referred her to Hamlin’s Harar Fistula Hospital, but explained she would need to wait for some time until she was ready for surgery.

The moment I found myself on a soaked bed, I felt ashamed and hopeless, even though the doctors told me there would be a cure” she told us.I then headed to stay at my mother’s home for three months of recovery time before visiting Hamlin’s Harar Fistula Hospital. During this time, I barely left home, and was afraid to even meet my husband and my daughter” she explained.

Hope on the horizon

In October 2020 Sartu arrived at Hamlin’s Harar Fistula Hospital, together with her husband and father. The team explained she would receive rehabilitative care for a month before she would be ready for surgery.

Before long, the day of her surgery came, and with its success, hope for a new start.

For me this surgery is like a miracle. Within just four months I have regained my dignity and been lifted out of the depression that I was in. I can start dreaming again about the future” Sartu told us.

Sartu on the ward at Harar
Sartu on the ward at Harar after her fistula surgery

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