Pregnancy and childbirth are the number on killer of girls, age 15-19 worldwide. When a mother and child survives it is a wonderful miracle, but not always the end of the story.
Obstetric Fistula is preventable with access to medical care, and treatable, but more than 2 million women in the developing countries live with this affliction. What does this affliction mean? It means that you are ostracized in your community and family, you often cannot work and are unwelcome in public places.
Her body used to stench badly as she wasn’t able to control her urine. She was socially stigmatized and discriminated against. Nobody invited her to any social festivals such as weddings, parties, or group work. She says, “I always used to feel homesickness.”
Thirty-nine-year-old Belaynesh Jigso from Ethiopia suffered for 24 years before her obstetric fistula, that caused her to be unable to control her urine. Nobody invited her to any social festivals such as weddings, parties, or group work and when she went out for her shopping, people used to point their fingers at her saying ‘look at that – stinky woman is coming’.
“These words were piercing me like a spear and breaking my fragile heart. Even my husband disregarded me because of the offensive words he was listening to from the community.”
Strong Women, Strong World has partnered with the UNFPA Campaign to End Fistula and has midwifery programs in Ethiopia and Afghanistan to help end stories like these. you can read Belaynesh’s full story here.