A prolonged and obstructed child labour can cause an obstetric fistula – a hole torn in the bladder, vagina or rectum. The injury can have devastating physical and social consequences for women, leaving them doubly incontinent, isolated from family and friends and living in pain and fear.
In 2017, The Ethiopian Ministry of Health estimated there are more than 36,000 women living in rural Ethiopia with obstetric fistula. Over 3,000 new cases occur each year.
In a country of 102 million, fewer than 7,000 midwives are trained to deal with this issue/condition.
Ethiopiaid is partnering with three organisations in Ethiopia to find and treat women living with fistula; improve maternal healthcare; train and rehabilitate fistula survivors; and restore dignity so that these women can live healthy prosperous futures.
Our partners are:
Alison talks about founding Healing Hands of Joy and the benefits of Safe Motherhood Ambassadors.
Funded by your donations, The Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa empowered Hawwa to start building a future and helped deliver new life.
Tblets goes through rigorous training to become a midwife to help prevent injuries and promote safe antenatal services.
Two decades ago, the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa was the only place where fistula patients could be treated. Today, not only can patients access the treatment they need through six fistula centres across Ethiopia, but they can also access complete physical and social rehabilitation facilities. Hamlin’s College of Midwives actively recruits and trains new midwives and then deploys them back to their own rural communities to provide maternal healthcare and support in the regions they’re needed most.
For the Women and Health Alliance (WAHA), women’s health (particularly maternal health) is a focal point of their mission. WAHA operates three hospitals and health centres across Ethiopia that provide free obstetric fistula surgeries for mothers in need. With an estimated 3,000+ women developing an obstetric fistula every year, there is great demand for their treatment. While fistula surgery is a key part of their work, WAHA also addresses other issues related to the treatment of this condition– such as raising awareness in remote areas, providing transport to women wherever possible to assist them in seeking aid, and training more gynaecologists, surgeons and nurses in the treatment and post-operative care of fistula.
Healing Hands of Joy (HHOJ) works to end obstetric fistula in Ethiopia in two ways: first to identify, refer and rehabilitate women living with obstetric fistula, and second to break down the social stigma behind fistula and show how communities can support sufferers. HHOJ trains ex-fistula patients as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors who return to their communities to identify new cases of fistula and educate expectant mothers on safe delivery. HHOJ also works on a wider community level, hosting community workshops, religious leader training, film screenings and male sensitivity training to raise awareness and change attitudes for this socially-isolating condition.
In 2019, Ethiopiaid’s donors and local partners made a real difference to women in local Ethiopian communities:
safe deliveries by Hamlin midwives in health centres
community members were educated about safe birth practices
male family members helped to support fistula survivors' rehabilitation
women supported to reintegrate back into their communities
women received repair surgery for a fistula and 484 for a pelvic prolapse
women were trained as Safe Motherhood Ambassadors and sent out to rural communities
Adolescent girls are often subjected to harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, gender-based violence and child marriage.
Around 60,000 children live on the streets of Addis Ababa. More than half have no access to shelter, adequate food, or an education.
People living with disabilities are routinely denied their most basic human rights, and are cut off from education, employment and healthcare. In Ethiopia, many live in extreme poverty.