Aregu lives in a village called Oromiya. Her community is traditionally known for their nomadic lifestyle and as such her village is both remote and extremely small, consisting of just a few scattered huts with no access to health services.
At 17, Aregu became pregnant with her first child. This was an exciting time for her, her husband and the whole extended family. Her mother spent the last three months of the pregnancy in Aregu’s home, preparing for the new child, and to be at her side for the delivery – the only assistance Aregu would have during labour.
When Aregu’s labour began, she could never have imagined the nightmare that was to follow.
Her labour was obstructed and lasted over five long and painful days. By the fifth day, exhausted, Aregu fell unconscious before tragically delivering a stillborn baby.
The experience left her with an obstetric fistula and serious damage to her bladder.
The fistula left Aregu permanently incontinent and her husband soon found living with the stench unbearable. Aregu was forced to move to her mother’s small hut for the next three years, leaking urine and believing there was no solution. By chance, health professionals advocating for a malaria campaign in the region found her and brought her to the Yirgalem Hamlin Fistula Hospital for treatment.
Given the complexity of Aregu’s fistula injury, she was hospitalised for five months and had to undergo two surgeries, the second at Hamlin’s main hospital in Addis Ababa. Aregu’s happiness after her successful treatment is immeasurable. She feels she has been given a second chance at life and recently said,
“(Catherine Hamlin) gave my life back and make me a woman again from where I was thrown to the edge. I thank you and love you from the deepest of my heart…”
With your help, the team at Hamlin have been able to restore another woman’s life.
Support women like Aregu today at hamlin.org.au/donate.