It costs $600 to fund a fistula operation and restore a woman’s life.
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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.

What happens?

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.


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How is it treated?

The majority of fistula patients can be cured with a single surgery. For some women with very severe injuries, like Zahra whose story is below, it may take a few surgeries. The Hamlin surgical team has a 95% success rate.

To date, more than 50,000 Ethiopian women have had their lives restored by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, thanks to generous supporters.


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There must be men and women of compassion and determination so that childbirth for all women can always be safe and babies and mothers saved – from death for the baby and from a life of living death for the mother. 

– Dr Catherine Hamlin


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We believe in a world where all women are able to deliver their babies safely and where childbirth injuries are a thing of the past.