Fistula/Safe Motherhood Envoys in Ethiopia

Posted by | Dec 10, 2019 |

After many years in supporting different organisations economically, IW Norway started their international project “Fistula” in 2006 in cooperation with the Norwegian Missionary Society (NMS) in Ethiopia. The “Fistula project” was the main international project for IW Norway up to 2014. The Fistula project helped girls/young women, who were suffering from fistula, a major damage to the birth channel after unsuccessful childbirths where urine and sometimes faeces run freely. These women needed help to return to a normal life inside their villages – and the only way to regain this was through surgery at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. We bought a car for transportation the 700km. Then IW Norway supported 4 young women to become midwives in order to prevent fistula.

In 2014 our project changed to:  “Safe Motherhood Ambassadors” in the Blue Nile Valley.

These “Safe Motherhood Ambassadors” are former fistula patients, who have been cured. They are trained in giving advice and to help pregnant women and urge them to go to established health centres to give birth. The hope is to get rid of the tradition of delivering alone out in the open, which will reduce birth injuries and infant deaths. The trained ambassadors will also give advice about hygiene and nutrition, and thus the whole society will benefit from their work. Instead of a salary they will be able to get a 200-dollar loan to establish their own small businesses. The pregnant women will also be given gifts such as hand - knitted caps and baby blankets – all done by IW members in Norway and very important to attract women to give birth in hospital.

In addition the project continues to send women with birth injuries either to Hamlin Hospital or another hospital for treatment.


Helene M Torkildsen