Keri discusses her goals for helping women in Ethiopia.
We are trying to raise funds to build the structure for a women’s health center in Ethiopia, and that clinic is going to be a beacon of light for women’s health there in Ethiopia, and the medical care that they are going to be able to provide to those women.
Right now, women struggle with a number of various health issues. They are, there is no advocacy for them. They don’t know how to advocate for themselves. It is a culture that is very reserved, very traditional, and to empower these women to come to this clinic to gather information and also to provide medical care for these women would just be huge. And our goal is to get this building built so that the outline for the medical treatment that is going to be provided for these women will be able to be put into play.
And the various medical issues, some of them that these women struggle with in Ethiopia, range from the traditional medical belief of female circumcision, getting them to understand the horrors and the medical complications and the deformities that come with that.
Also being able to provide them for prenatal care. There is, they had no prenatal care. Less than six percent of births are in front of a healthcare professional, so you can imagine the traumatic births that, complications that could happen with a woman giving birth to not only to herself but to the child. Many women die during birth, that that could be prevented by giving birth in front of a medical professional.
Also many of these women go for abortions. There are a lot of underground, unhealthy abortions that occur there, and the reason is because they feel as though that economically they cannot afford to have these children. They are in such desperate need of having availability, healthy other options to giving birth. And then also the aftercare of having a child, learning how to nurse properly.
If a woman is HIV positive, that she is able to come to this clinic, get medical treatment, and also learn after how to nurse properly so that it doesn’t get transmitted to the child. And also giving birth into a safe environment that the disease doesn’t get transferred to child.
And then in addition, the other aftercare for herself, for her emotional stability, her postpartum, and the decisions that she needs to make for herself and for her family. If she chooses to give the child up for adoption, she has ways of doing that and guidance, and also if she chooses to keep the child, providing care and healthcare for her and for her child after.
In addition, the other goals of this clinic is for women that have any kind of medical issues, you know, finding a lump on her breast and coming in, and knowing that she is able to get early treatment and early diagnosis rather than culturally kind of hiding that, and waiting until it gets to a time where maybe there’s nothing that they could do and that she is at her last breath.
And also the biggest issue which is knowing if you are HIV positive. A lot of these women don’t go to get tested because they go to a clinic where there’s 50 million people around. There is no privacy and the stigma of being HIV positive there in that country is awful, and it’s very humiliating and a lot of these women don’t go get tested.
So it’s a huge health problem for them, for their partners, and for their unborn children, as well. So providing a clinic where they can go to and in the privacy, get tested and having them understand that that is what healthcare is about. The healthcare that we have here, that it’s private, that you could advocate for yourself, and that there are options and that there is accessibility, and providing all of those to these Ethiopian women that it’s something that is totally unheard of there.
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