Friday, July 2, 2010

Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital

The following might not be a subject that you want to take on board - and I apologise to anyone with a delicate soul BUT .... I would recommend that you have a look at the website and have a read. It is incredible that in this day and age there are still women in this world who to go through such an ordeal just to have a baby. I personally wish I could do much more than collecting knitting wool, knitting squares and/or making quilts. But then I guess the girls have so little to start off with that my knitting squares for a blanket for them is a pretty big deal in their mind!

Hamlin Fistula® Australia Limited is the authorised Australian representative of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. It administers the Hamlin Fistula® Relief and Aid Fund which is a registered Australian charity with tax deductible status. It is the only charity in Australia solely dedicated to supporting the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

The hospital was founded by Dr Catherine Hamlin AC and her late husband, Dr Reg Hamlin OBE. It is dedicated to the treatment and care of women who suffer horrendous childbirth injuries caused by prolonged obstructed labour without any medical help or pain relief. If she survives this ordeal she will give birth to a still born child and her internal injuries will cause her to be incontinent of urine and sometimes bowel contents as well. She will spend the rest of her life a destitute outcast unless she can get to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital or one of its outreach centres.

Some interesting facts:
In developing countries where there is little or no medical assistance during childbirth, women in
obstructed labour either die or end up with terrible birthing injuries such as fistula. As well as causing incontinence, their injuries often result in other complications such as partial or complete paralysis of the legs. In Ethiopia where the roads are few, the terrain is rugged, and medical help is not readily available, a mother with a small or malformed pelvis or a badly positioned child may be in labour for five or more days without help. Many of these women become deeply depressed. Due to the objectionable smell associated with the condition these women are mostly rejected by their husbands and families. They become social outcasts and have a deep sense of rejection and shame. It is estimated that there are 2,000,000 – 3,000,000 women in developing countries living with fistulas (WHO). It is estimated that there are around 9,000 new cases per year in Ethiopia – mostly in rural areas. Obstetric fistula is a treatable and preventable condition. Fistula surgery at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has a 93% cure rate. The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has treated over 35,000 women. Most of the women treated at the Fistula Hospital are able to return to a normal life with their dignity restored. Many are able to have a child and experience the happy role of motherhood.

The above information was courtesy of the Hamlin Fistula website. (I couldn't have said it better).

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