Katy Migiro , Thomson Reuters Foundation
Somalilandsun – When Naima’s husband came home after the birth of their first child in a village in rural Somaliland, there was a rank smell of urine in the house.
He asked his wife what it was.
“This happened to me after I gave birth to our son,” she said. Her body had been torn during her prolonged labour, leaving a fistula, a hole between her vagina and bladder.
At least two million women in developing countries live with fistula, a devastating childbirth injury which results in uncontrollable leakage of urine and/or faeces.
The story of Naima (not her real name) is told by Edna Adan Ismail, a midwife who founded a hospital, speaking to Thomson Reuters Foundation in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa.
Naima’s husband instantly disowned her and told her to go back to her family. “You are damaged goods,” he said. “I cannot have you leaking and dirtying my house.”
He grabbed the baby out of her arms. Naima tried to snatch him back.
“He takes a knife and he goes: ‘Let go of the baby.’ And he puts the knife through here,” said Ismail, pointing to the middle of her chin. The blade went up through Naima’s tongue and hit the roof of her mouth.
SLASHED FROM EAR TO EAR