What We Do
Development experts have shown, time and again, that the only way programs are successful and sustainable is if they have community buy-in. Therefore, every program that VHP invests in is community-based and community-driven. Our leadership returns to Ethiopia annually to work with local partners. Together we perform deep needs assessments and collaborate to define projects and programs to meet local needs. Efforts must also interface with what the Ethiopian Government is doing and align with World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations for best practices.
VHP Board members have spent hours speaking with village women, healthcare professionals,
and community leaders to determine why women are not getting the help that they desperately need and to better understand how to intervene. Ultimately, in the setting of deep poverty, the main barriers to maternal health involve:
1.The decision to seek medical care
2.The ability to reach medical facilities
3.The availability of adequate medical care
Each of VHP’s programs aims to overcome these barriers. We do this by working with local stakeholders to increase access to maternal health services and by ensuring that medical facilities and healthcare providers have the ability to actually provide needed medical care.
Although many larger international organizations are working to help developing countries overcome barriers to the provision of maternal healthcare, few have been able to access the remote and isolated communities in rural Ethiopia that we serve.
VHP programs reach the areas of greatest need in Ethiopia where women are the most vulnerable.
What are the Complications?
Fistula and pelvic organ prolapse are two of the most common and debilitating complications of childbirth.
An obstetric fistula is a condition where a hole forms between the vagina and the bladder or rectum, causing a woman to become incontinent of urine and/or stool. This can result in severe infection.
Pelvic organ prolapse, like fistula, can be caused by prolonged labor. In this condition, the uterus, rectum, or bladder essentially sag, sometimes to the point that they hang completely out of the body, causing pain, difficulty moving, and trouble going to the bathroom.