“To see a girl from abject poverty and sadness and sorrow suddenly become a new person, that’s the joy that fistula surgeons get when they cure them.”– Dr Catherine Hamlin
In rural Ethiopia, where approximately 5 out of 10 women give birth without medical assistance, an obstructed labour can last for days and result in an obstetric fistula injury.
The physical and psychological impacts of fistula are tragic, however most injuries can be repaired with a single surgery. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is globally renowned for its treatment technique, which is focused on not just repairing the fistula, but restoring a woman’s dignity.
In FY22, there was a 64% increase in surgical procedures compared to the previous year, with a total of 2584 surgeries. The number of operations performed was the highest in the last 15 years at Hamlin, with most regional fistula hospitals surpassing 50 procedures per month.
This staggering increase is due to our committed and determined clinical team and has impacted the lives of many women like Almaz. After being cured, Almaz beamed, “My being cured is still a surprise. Thank you for making this happen and for letting me be a woman again.”
- 2584 total surgeries
- 94% major fistula surgery closure rate
- 82% incontinence cure rate
- 80 caesarean deliveries for former fistula patients
Procedures by Site
Outpatient Appointments by Type
Advanced Stage Pelvic Organ Prolapse
In addition to obstetric fistula surgeries, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia provides surgery for advanced stage pelvic organ prolapse (POP). POP happens when one or more of the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) slip down from their normal position into the vagina, causing a bulge.
Patients usually arrive at Hamlin hospitals with already advanced stage POP, and subsequent complications – including bleeding, infection, recurring UTIs, decubitus ulcers, urinary obstruction and renal failure. Like obstetric fistula, POP is related to childbirth and has devastating impacts on a woman.
Thankfully, all six Hamlin fistula hospitals have a specialist surgeon with urogynecology skills to undertake surgical repair of advanced stage POP. In FY22 our clinical team performed 1477 surgeries, dramatically improving health and quality of life for these women.
FIGO Fistula Surgery Training Initiative
Since 2014, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has been working with the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) to increase the number of fistula surgeons around the world.
Selected surgeons train at Hamlin for six weeks to acquire knowledge of the Hamlin Model of Care and best-practice fistula repair techniques. During FY22 five surgeons from Afghanistan, Somalia and Nepal trained at our Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
Hamlin’s clinical team is proud to share knowledge and skills with surgeons beyond Ethiopia in the fight to end fistula.