This week we encountered the stories of three women, three typical and tragic stories.
The first woman came into our lives through the Gender Based Violence program. Her husband beat her so badly that he broke her leg. Then he kept her at home and prevented her or anyone else from seeking care for her. The broken leg became infected, then gangrenous. Finally she was taken to the hospital, where she stayed for more than one week, during which time apparently no one from the hospital treated her or cleaned her wound. I saw a photo of the bed she was left sleeping on, which was soaked in fluids from her bed. She was left alone in a room, in terrible pain, with no treatment for the infection in her leg and little pain medication. When the hospital staff saw the police and GBV team on their way to the woman’s room, they rushed to bandage her leg. It had been too late to save the leg even before she reached the hospital, and this pregnant mother of four had her leg amputated last week. The GBV Coordinator has been trying to intervene with the family and in-laws to care for her and her children, but while they look for money for a hospital bill and food for the patient and for her children back at home, the woman is hungry in the hospital, which doesn’t have food services for patients. Her husband is on the run, and the police are looking for him.
The second woman I met in Nyambogo on Tuesday. The Mama Maisha team was there to walk from the village center to the nearest health clinic, but before we set out, our Maternal Health Advocates brought us a woman who delivered locally two weeks ago. The baby was very healthy, but she has a birth defect which seems to have fused her elbows and her forearms are tiny. The mother was at a loss what to do. Grace, the Mama Maisha Coordinator, is friends with the hospital physio therapist, who agreed to examine the baby, so we gave the mother a ride to Shirati and Grace accompanied her to the hospital. Amazingly, this was the second baby George had seen in two days with the exact same birth defect. They have to wait until the babies are six months old, and a surgeon will perform the operations. Now this mother has six months to find the money for surgery and a hospital stay and physical therapy for goodness knows how long.