Banishing Ethiopia's 'Mother Stealer'
8 May 2015
  • "I delivered, and then the Stealer came," said Asmer Geremew, in Tebabari, Ethiopia. People in her community say the Mother Stealer comes to claim the lives of women in childbirth © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • No ambulances were available when Ms. Asmer gave birth three years ago. When she began bleeding, friends and family carried her to help, shooting guns on the way to scare off the Stealer. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • Residents carry a sick woman to the Ambesame Health Centre. But things are improving - ambulances are now available for women with labour complications. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • Health officials and local leaders are also urging women to get prenatal care and to deliver in health facilities. Yetemgen Tebabel waits to see a midwife at a local health centre. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • These measures are making a difference. Anguach Abebaw has been referred to the Ambesame Health Center for labour complications. Midwife Fasika Maru examines her. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • The foetus is in a dangerous position. Ms. Anguach will be transferred to a referral hospital where more advanced care - such as a Caesarean section - can be provided. ©UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • Ms. Anguach's parents accompany her in the ambulance. Emergency surgical staff are waiting for them at Finote Selam District Hospital. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • Hundreds of emergency surgical officers are being trained through a UNFPA-supported programme. These staff saved the life of Yalem Belay, who delivered by C-section at the Finote Selam hospital. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

  • Belaynesh Sema rests with her newborn, Gize Melak, while she receives treatment for post-partum complications. Officials hope efforts like these will help to banish the Mother Stealer for good. © UNFPA/Mulugeta Ayene

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“I was running from place to place without food or shelter. I was in fear all the time... There was no safe place for me until I got to the safe house,” 22-year-old Selam* recounted to UNFPA.
“When you think about your future, you never plan to be uprooted from the comfort of your home," Hiwot* told UNFPA.
"We travelled for four nights on foot across the bush," one refugee told UNFPA.


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