Struggle for maternal health in Dullassa

25th July 2023

Haadi Mohammad has been a woman extension worker with APDA as, as she says, a response to her husband and his family tormenting her for only having girl-children. Haadi is 38 years old from Burtale Kebele in Dullassa and has 10 girls, the youngest almost 4 years. Haadi said being an extension worker gave her the space to express her feelings and to really empathize with other women and girls suffering under the expectations of the family and the gender, not knowing how to defend themselves. Now Haadi has stopped having children and her husband in disgust of her, married another woman who produced him girl children!!

The role of the women extension worker is to bring to reality and equality the facts that dominate gender difference engaging in the struggle to support the rights of females in reproduction and daily life. That they are first-hand sufferers makes them utterly right for the job.

From Haadi’s girls, one is happily married and one studying in Samara – she has chosen to bring up the family putting them all into school progressively.

Within the Dullassa team, Haadi has become a jump-stop gem, running to rescue an anemic mother, alerting the family to the need for referral and simultaneously keeping connection to the government health team to secure an ambulance, support the mother in her stay in the health center and encourage those needing support from Mohammad Akaali Hospital in Ami Bara. She sees herself as free-lance and will set up the possibility of referral when all seems impossible.  The bujuj owners all know her and the government alike.

On her own situation, she says it is almost an unaccepted explanation that it is the male sperm that determines the sex of the child, the Afar society seeing the woman as the determinant of the offspring. Haadi talks much of the misconceptions of the community of Dullassa making it clear there is a huge distance to pass to bring real equality and fairness for females in her community.

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