Transforming lives in Ethiopia

Banchiw’s story of restored dignity

Reading time: 2 min

Funded by your donations, The Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa empowered Banchiw to start building a future…

“Thank you all for giving me this wonderful daughter.”

The only time the severity of Banchiw’s labour pain eased was when, after many days, she sadly gave birth to a stillborn baby. To make matters worse, prolonged, obstructed labour had torn holes in Banchiw’s bladder and rectum: leaving her in unimaginable agony, severely incontinent and fighting for her life. 

Lucky to be alive

Globally, around 1,000 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every day. That’s one every 90 seconds.

Although her injury is easily preventable and curable, Banchiw was lucky to keep her life. Many Ethiopian women die unnecessarily and, with a severe lack of midwives in rural villages, the problem is set to continue.

Banchiw’s story reflects that of so many women living with fistula injuries. A teenage bride from a remote village, she lived a hand-to-mouth existence on a small farm with her husband. Based miles away from the nearest medical facilities, three of Banchiw’s six babies were stillborn.

When Banchiw developed fistula, she kept quiet about what had happened to her, afraid of the consequences.  She was fortunate to have a supportive family. They looked for help and found out about the Hamlin Fistula Hospital.  Many women are not so lucky, and resort to a life of isolation and pain.

A brighter future

Just one month after arriving at the hospital, the damage to Banchiw’s body had been reversed – and her dignity restored. Three years later, she was back. But this time, it was to give birth to a healthy baby daughter, by caesarean section.

With your donations, The Hamlin Fistula Hospital is able to help women like Banchiw rewrite her story.

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