My name is Alemitu and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital changed my life.
I was very young to try and start a family – just 15 years old. Sadly, my first two attempts resulted in stillbirth, but the third try was even worse. I was in labour for three days, screaming in agony. I remember just wanting it all to end but there was nothing that anyone could do. The baby was stuck in my young body.
By the time my mother had taken me to the nearest health centre, it was too late for me. For the third time, I had given birth to a lifeless baby. It was so very sad – but my troubles were not over.
During the labour, I had sustained a fistula injury. It means a hole was torn between my vagina and my bladder. Wherever I walked, I felt hot urine running down my legs. This was very difficult for me – especially after just losing another child so tragically. I was so ashamed. My husband left me and married another woman. And in my village, rumours started that I wouldn’t survive. All I could do was hide away in my mother’s hut, too afraid to show my face.
It went on like this for over a year. But when one of my mother’s relatives visited me, she told me about a place that could change everything.
And so I travelled to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, which is supported by Ethiopiaid. Surgeons there performed a simple operation and cured my incontinence. That short procedure has changed my life completely. Now I can go out with friends to collect firewood and carry my water pot on my back. I can communicate with the other villagers again. I’ve set up a small business selling coffee and I have big plans for the future. I have even finally given birth to a healthy son.
Each year there are approximately 10,000 new cases of fistula. Like me, these women and girls rely on the Fistula Hospital to restart their lives so that they have a future after these injuries. And the hospital needs your long term support and commitment.
If you would like to help more women and young girls like Alemitu, please click here.
Related Work: Maternal Health