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

Un projet de Prénom Nom

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  • Obstetric fistula is an injury resulting from long, unrelieved obstructed labor. When a baby is too big or poorly oriented, it may not pass through the mother’s pelvis and may result in obstructed labor. The constant pressure of the unborn baby’s head against the mother’s pelvis is prolonged and obstructed labor over many hours or days leads to the death of tissue and an abnormal opening between the birth passage and bladder and/or rectum. Labor proceeds but, if the mother survives, usually results in stillbirth. If that isn’t traumatic enough, these women suffer unimaginable internal injuries that leave them incontinent. Social exclusion is common and these women become social outcasts in their own communities.
  • Obstetric fistula is a thing of the past in developed countries but in Ethiopia, where 80% of the population lives in rural remote areas with little or no access to quality maternal healthcare, up to 39,000 women are estimated to be suffering from this debilitating, yet preventable, injury.
  • For most women, a single, life-changing operation can repair their injury and restore their life and dignity.

Project goals

  • Ethiopian women and girls receive surgery to repair their obstetric fistula injury.
  • These women’s health and dignity will be restored through the complete and compassionate model of care which includes counselling, physiotherapy, nutrition and rehabilitation.


  • Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading fistula treatment facility and is a centre of clinical excellence, training surgeons from all over the world. The surgeries will take place here 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 will also 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.
  • The cost of a simple/standard fistula surgery is approximately $700 CAD per patient including pre and post-operative care and rehabilitation

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 a Hamlin 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, 66 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.

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.