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Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Obstetric fistulae are common in poor countries where good care in childbirth is not available. If the labour becomes obstructed, the mother, if she is fortunate enough to survive, will deliver a stillborn baby, but the prolonged labour often wears a hole between the bladder and the vagina.

Fistula Hospital
Smiling faces of girls waiting to go home

The outcome is lifelong misery due to a total and permanent incontinence which can only be cured by skilled surgery. In Ethiopia, because of the mountainous terrain, 75% of the population live an average 2½ days walk for a proper road. Yet over 1,000 women manage to get to the Fistula Hospital every year where most are cured. This usually takes three weeks and now costs £400 per patient.

fistula hospital pic

In the last few years five outreach centres have opened to help patients who live a long way away from the capital. The hospital also has its own training school, the Hamlin College of Midwives, which trains midwives up to graduate level.

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