A life without shame

English28. November 2014

The Ethiopia Fund supports Ethiopian women with fistula injury to a life without shame.


Every year between 9 and 10 000 Ethiopian women get obstetric fistulas during childbirth. Fistulas might occur if the child is stuck. The pressure of the baby’s head against the pelvis lead to the death of the pelvis tissue, creating holes that leak urine and/or faeces. A tragic consequence is also that most of these children die.

Worldwide about two million women live with this serious handicap. Fistula is very shameful, since the leakage lead to a foul smell. Women often are resented both by their families and society, and many end their life lonely and in utter poverty.

The Ethiopia Find is a Norwegian organisation lead by midwife Anne Berge Pedersen, which works for women suffering from fistula. They cooperate with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (HFE) and Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA) which run the Assela Fistula Center, where 150-200 women are operated on yearly. The Center also run preventive interventions and supports the education of midwives and fistula surgeons.

The support from The Kavli Foundation has been used to purchase five motorbike ambulances, which are used to transport women in labour to the hospital in order to save the lives of mother and child, and to prevent obstetric fistula injury.

In the words of Dr. Mulu Muleta, a world leading fistula surgeon and head of WAHA: ”Thanks to the Ethiopia Fund unwavering support, it is now a safe haven where victims of fistula find protection from a cruel world, a place of restoration where they feel dignified, a retreat where they make peace with the past and learn to embrace their womanhood again.”