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How women and their babies’ lives are being saved

POSTED June 12, 2018

How women and their babies’ lives are being saved

Learn about CCFC programs in Ethiopia encouraging women to give birth with the help of professionals

By Semereta Sewasaw, CCFC communications manager, Ethiopia

Zeynaba Son Midwife Negash

“If I’d delivered at home my baby wouldn’t have survived,” shares Zeyneba, mother of a three-month-old boy. “I was very relieved when I heard my baby cry.”

The health and survival of babies is closely linked to their mothers. The same is true for the health of communities. Yet each year in Ethiopia, thousands of women and children don’t survive childbirth. One of the most important ways we can prevent this tragedy is to empower women to give birth in health facilities with obstetric care, improving their chances of a safe delivery.

Traditionally, women in rural Ethiopia turn to their mothers, other female family members, friends or untrained birth attendants for help them through their pregnancy and delivery. And, when a child or mother is lost, the deaths may be associated with the wrath of God or bad fate.

Helping women overcome deeply rooted traditions and beliefs about childbirth requires a thoughtful, collaborative approach.

Through ongoing community discussions and health-education sessions, we’re increasing awareness about the benefits of giving birth in health facilities — shifting cultural norms about home delivery. We’ve also trained health workers to handle birth complications.

Already, we can see the positive impact.


“I am truly happy to be alive and have the chance to look after my newborn.” — Fatuma


Fatuma, mother of nine-month-old Amir, has attended many community health-education sessions. As a result, she gave birth to her son at a health centre, changing her fate.

“When my labour pain started I went to the health centre,” shared Fatuma. “However, after giving birth I lost consciousness due to heavy bleeding. Later, I learned health workers saved my life.”

Remember Zeyneba (pictured above)? Her story of her baby’s survival filled me with hope and gratitude for the work we’re doing and how it’s helping save one life at a time.

“[At the health centre] the health worker assisted me through a difficult breech birth,” recalls Zeyneba. “And, when my son was born not breathing, [the worker] removed the discharge blocking his nose and mouth. I’m so grateful.”

You can support women like Zeyneba through Community Rise, a monthly giving program that helps break down barriers to education and build healthy, empowered communities. Learn more.

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