A haven of healingAddis Ababa Fistula Hospital provides care for women with childbirth injuries and has done so since 1974. It is located in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It is the only hospital of its kind in the world dedicated exclusively to women with obstetric fistula – a condition common in the developing world where the maternal health provisions are poor. It treats all patients completely free of any charge.
BackgroundFounded by Drs. Reginald and Catherine Hamlin both obstetrician/gynaecologists, from New Zealand and Australia respectively, the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has treated over 30,000 women with a success/cure rate of over 90%. Today, the hospital provides free fistula repair surgery to approximately 2,500 women every year and cares for 50 long-term patients. Catherine Hamlin has chronicled the history of the hospital in her autobiography and she and the hospital have been the recipients of many awards and nominations
What is a Fistula?
The most devastating of all childbirth injuriesAn obstetric fistula develops when the blood supply to the tissues of the vagina and bladder (and/or rectum) is cut off during prolonged, obstructed labour. The tissues die and a hole forms through which urine and/or faeces pass uncontrollably. Women who develop fistulae are often abandoned by their husbands, rejected by their communities and forced to live an isolated existence.
More than two million women live with fistulaEradicated in the “developed” world at the end of the 19th century when caesarean section became widely available, obstetric fistula continues to plague women throughout the developing world. It is estimated that there are 100,000 new fistula cases each year, but the capacity to treat fistula is only around 6,500 per year. The United Nations Population fund (UNFPA) estimates the world’s population of fistula sufferers at more than two million.
Nerve damage and psychological traumaThe WHO has called fistula “the single most dramatic aftermath of neglected childbirth”. In addition to incontinence, a fistula victim may also have nerve damage affecting their ankles and feet. If a woman lies on her mat for a prolonged period of time, waiting for the urine to dry, she may also develop contractions of the joints of her legs, as her muscles and tendons shorten from lack of use, and be unable to walk. Fistula victims also suffer profound psychological trauma resulting from their utter loss of status and dignity.
How to Helpmake a donation. Additionally you can contact one of our Partner Trusts who have merchandise for sale, can provide you with materials for fund-raising, can keep you informed of our work and may be able to accept offers of voluntary assistance.
Dear Cooper Friends,
Tim and I plan to deliver Adult Disposable Briefs to the woman at the Fistual Hospital. We would also love to take them some personal gifts such a perfume, hand lotion, pretty scarves, necklaces, hair bands, etc.
If you would like to donate anything please let us know.
Love you all,