Terri Bilton, the programme manager of the Aberdeen Clinic and Fistula Centre of Mercy Ships at Aberdeen, has told Awoko in an exclusive interview that they aim at giving back hope to young women and girls with fistula.
Speaking about their centre, the programme manager disclosed that, “a lot of these women are a little bit shy, they don’t want to come out and they are scared so what we do is that we have a screening team which goes up country every week in search of these women and bring them to us for treatment. It’s quite a long process for the screening team but they still do it.”
On the number of patients they treat each year, Ms. Bilton revealed that they aimed to treat at least 500 more a year, but that last year they could not meet their target of 500 because they encountered technical problems at the operations room which forced them to close down the office.
On the operations, the programme manager said they were fairly complex at times because some of them would have been in those conditions for a very long time.
Some, she went on, would undergo two or even three operations and this made them worry at times but that most of them did well after surgery.
About their funding, Terri Bilton said assistance came from various agencies in the US, Australia, England, Spain, and also from their monthly newsletters.
The fistula centre, which started operations since 2005, has indeed given hope to lot of young girls and women that encounter this problem mostly during childbirth.
A fistula patient (name withheld) at the centre, who is now working as a domestic staff, told Awoko that without Mercy Ships she would not have known how her life would have been.
“Because when I got this bladder problem during delivery of my first child, I was shunned by my parents and friends. Some were even calling me names. I had that problem for three years… It was late in 2005 that one of my aunties told me about Mercy Ships. We went there and indeed they were able to operate on me and now I am fine.”