Giving financial and practical support to the Safe Motherhood Ambassadors project in Ethiopia.
IW Norway’s International project is in cooperation with NMS, Norwegian Missionary Society. We have supported this project in different stages since 2006.
It gives help to women who had their health and social life ruined by fistulas. Fistula is a rupture in the birth canal often caused by complicated births, resulting in a loss of control of the bladder or/and bowel function. In addition to their terrible medical condition, and, often a stillborn baby, the women with fistulas become outcasts in their villages because they no longer can control bladder and bowels.
IW Norway and NMS pay for the transport of these women from our project area to hospitals for surgery and rehabilitation. Earlier, IW Norway helped finance midwife education for four women.
The last three years, however, 40 former fistula patients now have received training to become health workers.
They also get help to establish a small means of income. The women are called Safe Motherhood Ambassadors. They teach pregnant women how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and birth, to prevent fistulas and stillborn babies.
The health workers encourage pregnant women to go to a local health center for pre-natal checks, go there to give birth and return for a check-up afterwards. The cooperation with local health centers is very valuable.
It is changing the local tradition of giving birth alone. The project has become a success. Girls tend to be older when they marry and their bodies more fit to give birth. Administrators are educated to ensure the project is run properly.
Along with giving financial support, the Norwegian IW ladies give practical support. We knit woollen baby blankets, socks and caps. When a baby is born at a health center, it gets one of these blankets or a cap.