Latest Impact Report from FIGO

Fistula Surgeon Training Program at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia making a big impact

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) released their latest impact report yesterday on International Day for Maternal Health & Rights. FIGO works with leading health bodies around the world, including the World Health Organisation and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia to achieve our common goal of improving healthcare for women and babies.

To date, FIGO has trained 52 surgeons to treat obstetric fistula in 19 countries across Africa and Asia as part of their Fistula Training Initiative. This initiative seeks to address one of the central challenges in providing fistula surgery across developing countries – the lack of access to maternal healthcare professionals.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is globally renowned for its obstetric fistula treatment technique. Since 2014, medical practitioners from across the world have travelled to Hamlin’s Addis Abba Fistula Hospital – which operates as a FIGO training centre – to undergo the FIGO Fistula Training Initiative and train under the guidance of Hamlin Surgeons.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has trained medical practitioners from Yemen, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Somali, Chad and Madagascar.

After receiving intensive individual training for six weeks at the Addis Abba Fistula Hospital, surgeons acquire the skills and knowledge required to treat fistula injuries holistically, in line with the Hamlin Model of Care. This involves surgical, medical and psychosocial care, because fistula injuries are not only physical, but also emotional.

Once surgeons have returned to their home hospitals, they continue to be mentored by FIGO accredited surgeons and trainers such as Dr Fekade Ayenachew (Medical Director of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia).

FIGO’s partnership with Hamlin is part of a global effort to eradicate fistula forever.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 2 million women across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin American and the Caribbean are currently living with fistula. On top of this, it is believed that another 50 000 to 100 000 women develop a fistula every year despite the fact it is entirely preventable.[i]

Globally, 5% of women enter an obstructed labour, which without help, could lead to an obstetric fistula. Although any mother can develop a fistula, the number of women suffering from fistula is concentrated in 55 low resourced or developing countries. This is largely attributed to a lack of access to obstetric care including a shortage of midwives, obstetricians, gynaecologists and maternal healthcare resources.

Of the 52 surgeons that have undergone the FIGO Fistula Training Initiative, 28 have been trained Hamlin’s Addis Abba Fistula Hospital. Collectively these 52 FIGO surgeons have performed more than 6 000 fistula repair operations, treating thousands of women across 19 different countries. What an achievement! Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is proud to be able to help fistula sufferers beyond the borders of Ethiopia.

Together we will eradicate fistula. Forever.

Read more about the work of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia here.

You can access the full FIGO impact report here.

[i] http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/obstetric_fistula/en/

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