International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Obstetric fistula are holes that form in a woman’s bladder or rectum caused by obstructed labour during childbirth. This condition is easily prevented and treated with access to good quality maternal healthcare. In Ethiopia around 10,000 new cases of fistula are reported each year but currently there are only 1500 midwives trained to deal with the condition.

In Ethiopia, women suffering from fistula often face societal marginalisation, preventing them from being able to work, seeking help or receiving treatment.  Ethiopiaid have been working with Hamlin Fistula Hospital, who works at forefront of fistula prevention in Ethiopia, for over 20 years. The Hospital, which was founded by Dr Reg Hamlin OBE and Dr Catherine Hamlin AC in 1974 was the first hospital dedicated to the treatment of fistula in the world and the only place where fistula injuries could be treated in Ethiopia. Today, thanks to your support, Hamlin Fistula has been able to open a number of treatment centres across Ethiopia, and now provides training for the next generation of Ethiopian Midwives.

Our other partners Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA) and Healing Hands of Joy also do crucial work in treating and raising awareness of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. Their programmes cover diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation and provide fistula treatment across Ethiopia. Healing Hands of Joy’s Safe Motherhood Ambassadors programme trains ex-sufferers of fistula to go out into communities and teach women and men about fistula and how it can be prevented, adding to the growing awareness and understanding of the condition.

Although the provision and quality of maternal health services Ethiopia is improving, there is still so much that needs to be done. Thousands of women across the country are still needlessly suffering during childbirth; from preventable fistula injuries and from a lack of pre- and post-natal support. We are currently seeking your support to help improve the situation for pregnant women and new mothers in Ethiopia. To see how you can help and to donate, please click here.

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