Why your help today is so important for a fistula-free Ethiopia
For nearly 60 years, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has been systematically working to drastically change the maternal healthcare landscape in Ethiopia and eradicate fistula. Forever.
While eradication of fistula in Ethiopia once seemed almost impossible, it is becoming a reality and there is hope it could be achieved by 2030.
Reaching the remaining fistula sufferers in the most remote and isolated parts of Ethiopia is a challenge. These women suffer in isolation; ashamed and believing that they are the only one to endure this cruel injury.
The Hamlin team will not stop until every woman with a fistula is found and treated. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s healthcare network now reaches vast areas of the country. To date, Dr Catherine Hamlin and her team have restored the lives of almost 55,000 women.
However, there are still women suffering in silence. They need your help.
This place will go on for many years until we have eradicated fistula altogether – until every woman in Ethiopia is assured of a safe delivery and a live baby.
– Dr Catherine Hamlin
From 1959-2018. The impact of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and our hope for 2030.
An Ethiopian adventure...
When Drs Catherine and Reg Hamlin first arrived in Ethiopia they had never seen an obstetric fistula before and there was little or no treatment available. So they decided to stay and do something about it.
The first modern fistula hospital
During the 1960s Catherine and Reg refined the surgical technique to repair fistula. To cater for the demand, they began fundraising and in 1974, opened what would become the world renowned Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
A Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Dr Catherine Hamlin was nominated for a
Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination propelled her work onto an international stage. More people began to learn about the tragic plight of fistula sufferers and the Hamlin’s famous ‘Hospital by the River’.
Hamlin regional fistula hospitals
Many fistula sufferers could not travel to Addis Ababa for treatment. So, in 2003, Dr Catherine Hamlin began an ambitious plan to build five Hamlin regional fistula hospitals throughout Ethiopia by 2009. The plan ensured thousands more women would receive life-changing treatment to repair their fistula.
A college training midwives
Catherine knew that to eradicate fistula, treatment was not enough. Fistula had to be prevented in the first place, so she opened the Hamlin College of Midwives. Hamlin midwives are now deployed to remote areas where they provide vital maternal care and prevent fistula and other childbirth injuries.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia today
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is now a healthcare network of over 550 Ethiopian staff servicing six hospitals, a rehabilitation centre, the Hamlin College of Midwives and 48 Hamlin Midwifery Clinics. To date, close to 55,000 women have had their lives restored.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has dramatically changed the maternal health landscape in Ethiopia. Catherine’s dream of eradicating fistula once seemed impossible. There is now hope it could be achieved by 2030.
What is an obstetric fistula?
A hole between the birth canal and bladder and/or rectum, caused by a long, unrelieved obstructed labour where a woman has no access to emergency obstetric care.
Women who survive a long obstructed labour will suffer debilitating internal injuries that leave them incontinent of urine and/or faeces, permanently. In 93% of cases, their baby will die. Ashamed and alone, women are often isolated by their communities with no hope for their future.
How is it treated?
The majority of fistula patients can be cured with a single surgery. For some women with very severe injuries, like Aster whose story is below, it may take a few surgeries. With a success rate of around 95%, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is globally renowned for its pioneering treatment technique and model of care.
To date, close to 55,000 Ethiopian women have had their lives restored by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, thanks to generous supporters.
How many women still live with a fistula in Ethiopia?
In a country the size of Ethiopia, with a population of over 100 million people living in mostly rural regions, it’s hard to determine the exact number of women still living with a fistula. Based on a national survey conducted in 2016, it is estimated that there are between 36,000 – 39,000 women still untreated. What we do know, is that there has been a significant decline in the number of new cases presenting to Hamlin hospitals – a clear sign of the impact Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has made.