“It’s very complicated to walk away from people. You have to wait for them to walk away first.”

Priscilla is a student in Kenya. She recently underwent fistula repair surgery to correct the damage done by four days of obstructed labour, nine months after she was raped at age 15. 

Priscilla shared her story in The Right To Heal, a documentary examining the personal cost of lack of safe surgical care worldwide. It’s hard to look away from her animated face, and her devastating, statistically ordinary story.

The Right To Heal director and surgeon Jaymie Henry spoke about getting to know Priscilla, and the impact of her story.

What was Priscilla like when you first met her?

Just like in the video! She was so vigorous and joyful and passionate.

Did it change the way you had been thinking about global surgery?

What she suffered was completely inhumane. She was marginalized, cast aside by family, friends, because she didn’t have access to something as simple as surgery for her baby.

It brought that home to me – how we’ve relegated her to someone who can’t even function in society, who didn’t have opportunities.

What happened after the surgery?

It was life-saving; it just completely turned her around. She thought she was dead. Now she’s a vibrant young woman who wants to help other people. She wants to be a nurse, to give back to society.

What next?

Imagine that simple procedure, and it alters the course of her life. It’s profound. For me, there’s a sense of purpose. There are so many Priscillas in the world who can benefit from something as simple as this.