“To be able to train dedicated young doctors and midwives is marvellous for me and my loyal staff, especially as they become enthusiastic about helping these poor women. It gives me confidence that the eradication of obstetric fistula can be achieved.”– Dr Catherine Hamlin
The physical and psychological consequences of obstetric fistula are both debilitating and heartbreaking. Yet, while obstetric fistula requires specialised treatment and care, most fistula injuries can be repaired with a simple two-hour operation. This life-changing surgery is one that can completely restore a woman’s life and dignity.
Our team at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is working harder than ever to locate and treat women in remote parts of Ethiopia who have suffered alone for years, perhaps decades, without knowing that help is available. During FY2021, hundreds of Hamlin-trained health workers went door-to-door, person-to-person, tirelessly searching for the estimated 30,000 women still physically and emotionally isolated by fistula.
These women were brought to Hamlin hospitals for treatment and, over the last 12 months, almost 1,600 surgeries were performed.
Etagegn said: “I didn’t believe that there would be a cure for me until I reached this hospital and saw the amazing care for many women like me.”
- 1567 total surgeries
- 91% major fistula surgery closure rate
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and physical rehabilitation form an essential part of Hamlin’s physiotherapy services for patients.
SUI services include training and assessment of pelvic floor muscle, overflow incontinence management, measuring residual urine, bladder training, stiff catheter training, follow up including medication or treating infection, linking the patient to social work, finance and arranging transportation for discharge.
During FY2021, 760 patients have accessed these confidence-building services for periods from seven days to six months.
Patient Identification Program
Hamlin’s Patient Identification Program was launched in 2020 aiming to treat the estimated 30,000 women in Ethiopia still suffering with a fistula injury. We are seeking out every remaining patient, many in isolated rural communities and many who have lived with fistula for many years, so that they too can return to a normal happy healthy life.
Initial campaigns took place in Addis Ababa and Yirgalem in January and February 2020 and a national SMS campaign was launched at the end of January 2021. As a result, we are seeing an increase in fistula surgeries on patients who have lived with fistula for many years.