Prolonged and obstructed childbirth 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 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.
Hamlin Fistula Hospital provides surgery, rehabilitation and skills training to survivors of obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury which creates holes in the birth canal. One of the hospital’s biggest successes is the Hamlin College of Midwives, which aims to address the country’s midwife shortage and accomplish their founder Dr Catherine Hamlin’s dream of “a midwife in every village.” Upon graduation each midwife is posted to rural communities, to provide quality maternal health services to thousands of women – ensuring safer births and preventing injuries like obstetric fistula.
HHOJ works to eradicate obstetric fistula in Ethiopia in two ways: firstly by identifying, referring and rehabilitating women living with obstetric fistula, and secondly by breaking down the social stigma behind fistula and showing how communities can support women who have suffered fistula injuries. Through their Safe Motherhood Ambassador programme, women who have been cured 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, training religious leaders, holding film screenings and educating men and women, to raise awareness and change attitudes towards this socially-isolating condition.
Hope of Light provide obstetric fistula treatment at 3 fistula health centres in Gondar, Jima and Assella. They were founded by Dr Ambaye, a fistula surgeon with over 27 years’ experience, who was trained by the awe-inspiring Dr Catherine Hamlin. As well as providing medical supplies for fistula care, Dr Ambaye trains doctors in fistula surgery, raises awareness with health professionals and her team provide post-operative counselling for patients.
Simien Mountain Mobile Medical Service work to provide essential medical and healthcare services to communities who have little to no access. Working in the remote, rural, and challenging landscape of the Simien Mountains they have a series of health centres and teams of outreach health workers, who together provide reproductive, maternal, natal and child healthcare along with emergency care and transport to health centres and hospitals. SMMMS have carried out essential emergency medical care throughout the recent Pandemic and on-going conflict.
Atsede’s Maternity Clinic’s ‘Midwives on the Move’ project provides home visits to pregnant women living in the mountainous terrain of the Gurage Zone – where many of the women they work with either aren’t able to travel to health facilities for antenatal appointments, or do not think they are important enough. Alongside the antenatal, delivery and postnatal care they provide, they are working to change attitudes in communities, emphasising the importance of maternal health care and empowering women to make informed decisions about their own health. Atsede’s Maternity Clinic was founded by 2019’s International Midwife of the Year, Atsede Kidane, and British midwife Indie McDowell.
In 2021, Ethiopiaid’s donors and local partners made a real difference to women in local Ethiopian communities:
people were reached through Safe Motherhood Ambassadors.
women and men were made aware of the importance
of maternal healthcare.
women’s lives were transformed by Hope of Light through obstetric fistula surgeries.
Hamlin-trained midwives were deployed in health centres across Ethiopia this year.
Adolescent girls are often subjected to harmful 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.