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‘Do not stay quiet if you have fistula’

  • Published at 09:51 pm May 15th, 2019
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File photo of recently recovered patient from fistula Rowshan Ara and her child Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

An easily fixable medical condition, fistula affects thousands of women postpartum across Bangladesh 

Rowshan, a recently recovered patient shared how ashamed and helpless she felt when she was suffering from fistula.

“For 13 months, I suffered and cried silently. At one stage, it (obstetric fistula) traumatized me and I was ostracized in my own home,” said Rowshan Ara.

Now 20 years old, Rowshan was narrating her days of pain and disappointment at the launching workshop of a five year ‘National Strategy for Obstetric Fistula 2017-2022’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Wednesday.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and USAID. 

Rowshan, mother of a baby girl, said her physical condition got worse just a week after giving birth to the child on December 18, 2017. She felt a lot of pain giving birth to her child. 

Embarrassed, Rowshan, who was a first year honours student in Rangpur at the time, was in a fix about getting proper treatment for her physical problem. 

She was even confused and embarrassed about telling her near and dear ones, which ultimately left her depressed.

In course of time, her condition continued to deteriorate, she said.  At one stage, her husband Mahbubur Rahman, a teacher, came to know from a friend that such cases are treated at a LAMB Hospital in Dinajpur. 

Finally, she was admitted to the hospital in March and was operated on to  relieve her of the aiment. 

“Now, I'm fully cured. My relationship with family members not only returned to normal, but also improved significantly,” she added. 

“There was a time when a sense of fear grew in me about my sufferings which I would not be able to share with others. I was anxious about facing society and even my family members, especially my husband, fearing that I might smell bad,” she said.

“Although I was a college undergraduate, I was completely in the dark about the treatment of fistula,” Rowshan added. 

“Under treatment at Dinajpur hospital, I learnt that complications during my labour at home, led to my medical condition,” she maintained. 

Rowshan wondered what it was like for people who knew little about  treating obstetric fistula. 

When asked about her suggestions for obstetric fistula patients, Rowshan said: “There is no alternative to breaking silence to get rid of this painful condition and survive well.”