A tragic start to motherhood
In the small village within South Ethiopia, where Almaz lived there were no health clinics, public transport or even electricity. To get to those services, villages had to walk for a full day to a larger, market town.
Almaz was poor, she didn’t get the opportunity to go to school and she lost her family when she was still young. She says she was about 17 years when she was first married.
When she fell pregnant, giving birth in a hospital was not even a consideration. It was unthinkable – literally impossible. The women of her village tried their best to attend to her. But her delivery suffered complications. She suffered a protracted labour for five torturous days.
Only then was she brought to a clinic and then a hospital. But tragically, her child died.
The complications left her incontinent due to an obstetric fistula. She returned to the village, she stayed with her brother, and hoped her condition would heal.
“I had no one … my family was gone and my brother was a poor farmer … I didnt have money to search for treatment,” Almaz says. The humiliation and the embarrassment caused by the incontinence meant: “ I kept myself inside the small hut and spent my days crying”.
This was her life for 10 years.
The road to recovery
Yet just over a year ago, health officials came to Almaz’s village and heard of her plight. She was sent to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s Metu Fistula Hospital in southwest Ethiopia but as her’s was a complicated case she was referred to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
Almaz received treatment at Hamlin which involved a series of operations. It completely fixed her condition.
“My being cured is still a surprise. I never thought of it before until it actually happens. Thank you for making this happen and letting me be a woman again” Almaz says.
In her local language Almaz’s name means diamond. She was treated as precious by the staff at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and her successful treatments will give Almaz another chance at life, another chance to sparkle.
This tax-time, please consider making a tax-deductible donation before the 30th June so that other women can live a life free of fistula just like Almaz.
Almaz’s life-changing operations were free of charge – just like the almost 55,000 women who have been treated by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. They were free because of the generous donations of people like you who are part of a movement to eradicate obstetric fistula.
It is a dream that pioneering Australian surgeon, Dr Catherine Hamlin, has committed her life to. It is her wish and our wish and the wish of thousands of others that women should be forever free from the risk of such atrocious internal injuries.
We believe no woman should suffer the indignity of an obstetric fistula – this horrific childbirth injury should a thing of the past. Join us. It costs just $600 for a standard 60 minute surgical procedure that will make all the difference in the world to a woman suffering a fistula. Together we can make a difference.