Category: "Health"

Ethiopia Diary: Married off at 10, selling sex at 16

October 30th, 2006


Rekha Basu's Ethiopia diary
Ethiopia Diary Part4

Ethiopia part 4: Africa's abortion laws offer lessons of hardship

Ethiopia’s ban on abortion and the persistence of botched ones might offer a prelude if the United States were to ban them again.

Ethiopia PArt3
Ethiopia Part 3: Life, marriage, death hang in HIV test results
The test results for one half of an engaged couple foils the pair’s future together, but prevents another person from being destined to join the 1.5 million Ethiopians with AIDS

Part 2
Ethiopia Part 2: Married off at 10, selling sex at 16

After she fled from her husband a young woman reluctantly becomes a prostitute because she can’t find any other way to support herself.

Part 2
Ethiopia Part 1: Women struggle, but strings bind U.S. help

Part 1 of a six-part series of commentaries by Register columnist Rekha Basu on her recent trek to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia part 2: Married off at 10, selling sex at 16

U.S. aid policies fail to recognize difficult realities of life.

Woldia, Ethiopia She was only 10 when her parents married her off to a man in his early 20s, and 13 when she fled him because he wouldn't follow time-honored tradition and wait three years for sex.

Now at 16, she supports herself selling that very commodity to strangers.

Tigist Eyase

Tigist Eyase, 16, is a sex worker in Woldia.

Read Complete Report by DesMoines Register Columnist REKHA BASU

Rekha Basu's Ethiopia diary

A six-part series of commentaries exploring women’s health issues in Ethiopia and how help from the United States sometimes hurts instead.

Coming next:
>•Tuesday: In a country where 1.5 million people are HIV positive, a couple wishing to marry learns the results of their HIV tests.

Wednesday: Ethiopia’s ban on abortion and the persistence of botched ones might offer a prelude if the United States were to ban them again.

Thursday: Ethiopia leads the world in obstetric fistula, a horrific condition tied to early childbirth and malnutrition.

Friday: Another of Basu’s essays on “Surviving”: Sometimes, seeing how life is lived halfway around the world gives new insight into one’s own circumstances.

"Some husbands say if a woman takes contraception, she can enjoy herself (with other men) rather than her husband," says Hailu Berhanu, the medical director of Lalibela Hospital, which offers family planning and delivers babies.

An Ethiopian woman is "a machine who's fabricating an assembly line until the end of her fertility," says Tilahun Gilday, director of Pathfinder International in Ethiopia,

Related Links

Stop Dometic Violence
Photo courtesy of Antonio Fiorente and Beth Weinstein of EngenderHealth.

See More on Des Moins Register

Fitsula Hospital The Illiterate Surgeon Mamitu

December 27th, 2005


Mamitu Gashe: Person of The Year 2005
Dr Mamitu

The New York Times

'The Illiterate Surgeon'

"After that operation, 42 years ago, Ms. Mamitu was given a job making beds in the hospital. Then she began helping out during surgeries, and after a couple of years of watching she was asked by Dr. Reg Hamlin to cut some stitches. Eventually, Ms. Mamitu was routinely performing the entire fistula repair herself.

Over the decades, Ms. Mamitu has gradually become one of the world's most experienced fistula surgeons. Gynecologists from around the world go to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital to train in fistula repair, and typically their teacher is Ms. Mamitu.

Not bad for an illiterate Ethiopian peasant who as a child never went to a day of school.

A few years ago, Ms. Mamitu tired of being an illiterate master surgeon, and so she began night school. She's now in the third grade." Read More From NY Times

Even though she is only in the third grade, Mamitu is one of the world's premiere obstetric fistula surgeons.

Watch NY Times Video

Read the op-ed piece first published on June 12 2005 by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Related Link

Donate Online HELP Ethiopian Mothers

Learn more about Fistula.

Give the gift of dignity
Help Fistula Foundation

Have Your Say

Oprah Goes to Ethiopia

December 1st, 2005


Oprah Goes to Ethiopia

Oprah traveled 7,000 miles to see how a modern-day saint helps thousands of young girls.

Earlier this year Liya and her husband visited the hospital. The experience was so moving it sparked her to launch a crusade to help young women suffering from fistulas in her homeland.

Watch The Show

Donate Show your support
for the women of Fistula Hospital.Order your Dignity Bracelet today!

Related Article The 'illiterate Surgeon'

More on Liya Kebede