When she first fell pregnant at 14, Mekdes was unlike most Ethiopian women, she was able to access maternal care.
Although accessing this medical care was far from easy from her small rural village in North Ethiopia on the outskirts of the historic city of Gondar.
She and her husband walked for seven hours each month to the closest clinic throughout her pregnancy. When her labour began she made her way to the clinic again – this time on a makeshift stretcher.
But the young teenager was to endure an incredibly difficult labour. With no skilled birth attendant at the clinic when she arrived, staff didn’t know what to do. Mekdes says she fell unconscious and was tragically sent back to her village, on the stretcher, still unconscious.
Back in her village Mekdes finally woke up and her labour began again. After six days of unbearable pain she finally gave birth. Her baby was dead. Mekdes was left with a double obstetric fistula, leg injuries and was paralysed.
From hopelessness to hopefulness
Shortly afterwards her uncle brought her to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia‘s Bahir Dar Fistula Hospital. She was then referred to Hamlin’s main hospital in Addis Ababa.
For two years Mekdes underwent intensive treatment. “It was like reconstructing my body, the fistula was fixed, my body started moving gradually and [I was] able to walk to the bathroom and clean myself. There was a transformation from that of hopelessness to hopefulness.”
Today Mekdes is totally cured and living a happy life with her husband. It is an incredible transformation.
“I become speechless and burst into tears whenever I think of expressing my gratitude to Emaye.”
‘Emaye’ means mother in Amharic, and is a term of endearment the women use to describe Dr Catherine Hamlin.
Mekdes is one of almost 55,000 women that have now been treated by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.
The women receive their treatment free of charge thanks to the generous donations of a growing movement of people who share Catherine Hamlin’s dream to eradicate fistula. Forever.
Mekdes was present at Catherine’s 94th birthday earlier this year. Dr Hamlin says she will not see the fulfillment of her dream in her lifetime. But thanks to the support of so many she is confident her dream of eradicating fistula in Ethiopia will be achieved. Our hope is by 2030.
Mekdes’ incredible transformation was made possible thanks to our generous donors. This tax-time, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help treat other women suffering with an obstetric fistula so they can have their lives transformed just like Mekdes. Donate here today.