Who We Serve
Kellem Wollega And Western Wollega Zones
In the Oromia Region
Bench Sheko and West Omo Zones
In the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region
The women in rural Ethiopia have one of the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the world.
- 89% of women deliver at home
- 1 in 10 dies in childbirth
- 1 in 2 develop a debilitating gynecologic complication
The lack of maternal healthcare is due to many factors.
One of the major factors is that medical facilities in rural areas have extremely limited infrastructure.
- Many health facilities lack year-around access to clean water
- Few health facilities had handwashing stations with soap
- Most medical providers were not practicing clean and safe healthcare
Our community-based and community-programs are changing that.
The Women We Help
Mecca has been pregnant 10 times. She has seven surviving children. She is only 30 years old.
After the birth of her fifth child, a hard labor that lasted two days, she began leaking urine, suffering from a preventable injury called “fistula.”
Mecca has a constant, painful rash from leaking urine. People pinch their noses if she enters a home. She tries to hide her condition when she goes to market, but she’s ignored and avoided because she smells.
She’s unable to work in the fields as a day laborer (also her husband’s livelihood). She’s in pain, lonely, depressed and cries a lot. She says sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed early to collect water and firewood and care for her children. To his credit, her husband has not left her. For many women, fistula drives their husband away.
Salia gave birth alone during the middle of the night. Help did not arrive until the morning, when it was too late. As a result, she developed uterine prolapse with urinary incontinence. She became pregnant again and delivered a healthy baby boy, but her husband divorced her, leaving her to care for her only living son alone. Through the STT Program, Salia was identified as needing surgery. She was transported to Aira Hospital and successfully treated.
Buse was identified to have a high risk pregnancy early on, and was advised to go to the hospital two weeks before she was due. However, with no place to stay near the hospital, Buse waited until labor started. She was lucky to have made it to the hospital where they performed an emergency c-section to save her and her daughter’s life.
A 15-year-old girl was in labor for three days and her father had carried her 20 kilometers on an improvised stretcher to the main road before a passing car was flagged down.The young woman was brought to the operating room for an emergency c-section. Fortunately, they operated in time. The mother lived and delivered a healthy baby boy.
Busee experienced prolonged labor complicated by post-partum hemorrhage and an obstetric fistula. Her baby died. She lay in bed in the same position for three months. As a result, she developed a nerve palsy that left her unable to walk. Busee was identified under the STT Program as needing assistance, and was transported to the Aira Hospital where she underwent surgery to repair her fistula.
Zeritu arrived at the hospital on a stretcher, near death, carried in from a nearby refugee camp. Malnourished and suffering from chronic starvation, her body was emaciated; her belly protruded with the weight of her child. Without an emergency c-section, she and her child would surely die. When the medical team at the hospital performed a c-section, they found not one baby, but two. Zeritu had lost her twins, but she survived.
Like many women in Ethiopia, Zahara had little say in family planning and became pregnant again and again. Having no skilled medical help for any of the deliveries, she suffered from severe prolapsed uterus. Through our Screen, Transport, and Treat program, Zahara has a chance at normal life.
We found her in her hut waiting to die. She said “it was her time” and that she could “no longer be a burden on her family.” Through the STT Program we treated her gynecologic complications. Waktole and her husband are now raising sheep to support the family and Waktole has become a community advocate for safer motherhood.
She told us her story. How she labored at home alone for several days. Then how she finally delivered. Weak and tired she held onto a post in her hut and gave birth…but the baby was dead. She cried. She implored the other women there that day to go to the health center for delivery, “so you baby won’t die.”