Shakira Nakato, a resident of Kazo Bwaise in Kampala looked forward to April 12, 2016 as the best day of her life. After struggling to conceive for a longtime, Nakato was filled with excitement, when she gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.
However, what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life turned into the first day of a nightmare. Nakato suffered a vaginal tear during child birth leading to fecal and flatus incontinence — the inability to control bowel movements.
Nakato is one of the women who benefited from the medical camp at Mulago Women’s hospital that took place last week. More than 20 women suffering from various effects of child birth like Fistula, Urinary incontinence and vaginal tears were operated on.
After the surgery, Nakato told this publication that she will now be able to pick up her life and make something out of it. “My husband left with my child after I fell sick. I have not even seen my baby growing for the last three years. It has been hard. But after the operation, I hope will be able to work and be able to see my child,” she said.
Vaginal tears are small lacerations or cuts that occur in the vaginal area. They mainly occur as a result of child birth but can also be caused by other factors.
First and second degree tears take place in the perianal muscle. These cuts or tears are not serious and can be as a result of rape or rough sex. Third and fourth degree tears extend to the anal sphincter and rectum respectively.
Dr. Godfrey Alia, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Mulago Women’s hospital, says failure to deliver under the care of professional health workers normally leads to some tears.
Dr. Evelyn Nabunya, the Executive Director Mulago Women’s Hospital, says some women try using herbs to heal the tears. She however, notes that surgical interventions are better since they bring about proper healing compared to herbs.
It is estimated that 75,000 Ugandan women suffer from fistula. But medics note that vaginal tears are more common in the country compared to fistula.
Data from Kawempe and Mulago hospitals shows that 3 out of every five mothers suffer from second to fourth vaginal tears as a result of child birth. Treating vaginal tears on the open market costs Shillings 1.3 million.
Dr. Alia says that untreated vaginal tears can lead to sexual dysfunction among women.
He say if third and fourth degree tears go untreated, they can lead to kidney problems as a result of Urinary Tract Infections.