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Yeruknesh Mesfin (Ethiopia)

Yeruknesh Mesfin (Ethiopia)
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Yeruknesh Mesfin, from Ethiopia, was married at 13 and died in childbirth at 15:

Yeruknesh was from Goradit, a small village in Ethiopia; she never had the chance to go to school, but from the age of seven looked after her family’s cattle.
Ten days after her birth Yeruknesh was circumcised. Then, at 13, she was abducted, raped by and married to a local farmer, Mr. Zena. He was 32 years old and his first wife had died in childbirth.

Yeruknesh became stepmother to his four year- old son and two-year-old daughter and took over the household chores and helped with the harvest. Shortly after her marriage, Yeruknesh started menstruating and became pregnant. Yeruknesh felt pain and discomfort during her pregnancy, but carried on with her daily work. During her labor, women neighbors came into Yeruknesh’s small thatched grass hut praying that Yeruknesh would deliver safely, but complications of the birth were far beyond the capacity of the traditional birth attendant, who had no formal training.

Yeruknesh was carried to Bahir Dar Hospital, but both she and her baby died. The next day her body was taken back to the village to be buried.

Yeruknesh was 15 years old.

This story was submitted by WRA member Medico Socio Development Assistance of Ethiopia

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