Treatment of obstetric fistula injuries at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Hospital

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Context

Women and girls with obstetric fistulas have suffered great trauma, but this does not need to be the end of their stories. They deserve not just to survive, but to have a full life in which they can pursue their hopes and dreams for their futures.

For more than six decades, the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation has implemented our world-recognized approach to the holistic treatment of women and girls with obstetric fistulas — severe injuries resulting from prolonged, unrelieved and obstructed labor, typically in the absence of skilled birth attendants.

In 93% of cases, the mother suffers not only dramatic tissue damage, but she also loses her new baby. Nerve damage and weakened pelvic muscles make many daily tasks unmanageable. And, women are also often ostracized from their communities – cut off from avenues to leading a full, healthy and happy life.

The work is centered in Ethiopia, a country with one of the highest fertility and maternal mortality rates in the world.

For most women, a single, life-changing operation — for as little as $700 CAD — can repair their injury and restore their life and dignity.

Project goals

-To eradicate obstetric fistula from Ethiopia. Forever.

-It is not just about receiving surgery to repair obstetric fistula injury, but restoring Ethiopian women and girls’ dignity — incorporating counseling, rehabilitation and training courses to enable women to re-enter their communities.

Activities

  • The surgeries will take place at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital or at one of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s five regional Fistula Hospitals in rural Ethiopia. Hamlin’s regional hospitals are located in Mekele and Bahir Dar in the north, Yirgalem in the south, Harar in the east and Metu in the southwest.
  • Patients receive complete pre and post-operative care at the Hospital where their surgery takes place.
  • The model of care is grounded in a fundamental respect for women who suffer this condition and a commitment to provide complete and compassionate care. The clinical excellence does not compromise on treating every woman with dignity and compassion.
  • Indirectly, families and whole communities will benefit from women’s reintegration into their communities with restored health and skills to lead productive, independent lives. The women who will receive the surgeries either arrive on their own at the hospital or are referred to the hospital for treatment.

Key Performance Indicators to be reached (KPIs)

  • Every woman returns to her community (or independent living) with restored physical and emotional health, dignity and hope for the future.
  • Women leave the hospital with their fistula injury completely repaired or a surgical solution to prevent heavy incontinence.

KBF CANADA is working with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation on this charitable project. They work towards the eradication of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia, one of the most horrific childbirth injuries imaginable, through surgical repair, patient rehabilitation, education and prevention. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (HFE) comprises six fistula hospitals including the world famous Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, the Hamlin College of Midwives, 80  Hamlin supported midwifery clinics, and a Rehabilitation and Reintegration program at Desta Mender.  Originally established by pioneering Australian surgeons Drs Catherine and Reg Hamlin, today HFE is a much loved and respected Ethiopian Charity run entirely by Ethiopian professionals. In a single year, they treat more than 6,000 patients and perform more than 1,000 fistula and fistula-related surgeries. Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is staffed by more than 550 Ethiopian medical professionals and five regional hospitals — Mekele and Bahir Dar in the north, Yirgalem in the south, Harar in the east and Metu in the southwest — have been established to respond to the significant demand for fistula surgery. They provide counseling and a range of training courses to support nearly 1,000 women in their recovery. Hamlin’s Rehabilitation and Reintegration Program at Desta Mender offers counseling, literacy and numeracy classes. Additional programs for vocational and life skills training help women find sustainable employment or to establish their own small businesses. Last year, Hamlin midwives delivered more than 30,000 babies.

How to support this project?

By credit card: At the top right of this page, indicate the amount you wish to donate, and make the donation online by credit card. You will receive a receipt for tax purposes by e-mail just a few minutes after making the donation. Quick and easy!

By cheque: Mail the cheque to the KBF CANADA Foundation, mention ‘Project D304 -Fistula Ethiopia Hamlin’ in the ‘For’ section and send it to: KBF Foundation CANADA, 1 Place Ville Marie, Suite 1670, MONTREAL, QC, H3B 2B6 – CANADA.

By Direct Deposit: Send an email to the KBF CANADA Foundation [email protected] or call +1 514.481.2000.

All donations are eligible for a tax receipt in Canada.

The projects are managed with the greatest care and professionalism.