Banchiw Ashagre

Banchiw Ashagre

“You brightened my darkened life and cured me from unthinkable injury.”

These are the words of Banchiw Ashagre when talking about oura trusted Ethiopiaid maternal health partner, the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. Generously funded by you, their care empowered Banchiw with hope for a brighter future.

A prolonged, obstructed labour had resulted in holes in Banchiw’s bladder and rectum: leaving her in unimaginable agony, severely incontinent and fighting for her life.  The only time the severity of labour pain eased was when, after many days, she finally – and devastatingly – gave birth to a stillborn baby.

Globally, around 1,000 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every day. That’s one every 90 seconds. Banchiw was lucky to keep her life, although this injury easily preventable and curable. These women are dying unnecessarily, and with a severe lack of midwives in rural villages, the problem is set to continue.  

Banchiw’s story reflects that of so many women living with fistula. A teenage bride from a remote village, she lived a hand-to-mouth existence on a small farm with her husband.  Based miles away from the nearest medical facilities, three of Banchiw’s six babies were stillborn.

When Banchiw developed fistula, she kept quiet about what had happened to her, afraid of the consequences.  She was fortunate to have a supportive family. They looked for help and found out about the Hamlin Fistula Hospital.  Many women are not so lucky, and resort to a life of isolation and pain.

Just one month after arriving at the hospital, the damage to Banchiw’s body had been reversed – and her dignity restored. Three years later, she was back. But this time, it was to give birth to a healthy baby daughter, by caesarean section.

“Thank you all for giving me this wonderful daughter, and for what you are doing for poor women like myself.” 


If you would like to help more women like Banchiw, please click here to donate.

Related Work: Maternal Health