Safe Motherhood Ambassadors help eradicate Obstetric Fistula

Our partner, Healing hands of Joy, train former fistula patients to become Safe Motherhood ambassadors. Meet Sindayo:

Sindayo is 29 years old. She is a bright woman, who has completed higher education and is a great communicator. The labour of Sindayo’s first child was long and complicated – she tried to give birth, at home, for three days before she was able to reach a local hospital. It was here that Sindayo received the devastating news that her baby was stillborn and was later diagnosed with obstetric fistula – a result of enduring such a protracted labour. Soon after, her husband divorced her.


Within three months of being diagnosed with a fistula, Sindayo received surgery. After her recovery, Sindayo learned of the work of Healing Hands of Joy and knew she wanted to become a Safe Motherhood Ambassador (SMA).

Safe Motherhood Ambassadors are obstetric fistula survivors who have been trained at
promoting prevention of the injury, and better infant health, by educating pregnant mothers on safe delivery practices. Alongside this training, they are also encouraged to attend skills workshops that will develop them personally (including literacy, numeracy and income generating activities).

Since graduating from the SMA programme in August 2012, Sindayo has educated over 50 pregnant women – of which 40 had pre-natal care follow-up and 20 delivered their babies at a health centre with a skilled birth attendant.

Sindayo is eager to spread her knowledge even further, to prevent other women from
experiencing the isolation that she did:
‘I need to do more to convince mothers to deliver at a health centre. I am trying to address the whole community by educating at local gatherings.’

In July 2014, Sindayo was invited as a keynote speaker at Ethiopia’s National Conference on Ending Obstetric Fistula. She is now widely recognised as a strong and outspoken advocate for safe, skilled childbirth as a way to end obstetric fistula in communities across Ethiopia.

Related Work: Maternal Health