Ethiopia has a population of 88 million, with 83% of the population living in rural areas. It is the tenth largest country by area in Africa, and the second most populous. The life expectancy at birth for women is 58.39 years and for men it’s 53.28 years.
In Ethiopia less than 10 percent of all births take place with a skilled attendant. In 2010, one out of every 67 women will die from pregnancy related causes during her lifetime. For every woman who dies another twenty survive with complications or serious injuries such as obstetric fistula.
WAHA INTERNATIONAL IN ETHIOPIA
In 2010 WAHA International partnered with three university teaching hospitals to provide fistula repair surgery and integrate fistula care into the training of postgraduate medical students such as urologists and gynecologists. The hospitals provide operating theatre and beds while WAHA trains the medical personnel and covers the cost incurred for treatment of each patient operated, including post operative care. Our projects are managed by two internationally recognised fistula surgeons: Dr. Mulu Muleta and Dr. Ambaye Wolde Michael.
In Gondar University Teaching Hospital, WAHA International with the support of the UNFPA and the Fistula Foundation, finalized the construction and complete furnishing of a new fistula ward within the new hospital premises in July 2011. Covering 1300m2, this unit will make it possible for WAHA and Gondar University to treat 100 women each month. This fistula ward aims to be a international training centre of excellence for surgeons from Ethiopia and abroad. WAHA International will continue to train surgeons studying in Gondar University.
In addition, WAHA International and the Adama University Teaching Hospital inaugurated a new fistula treatment care and training service at the Assella School of Health in July 2010. Serving about 3 million women, the Assella Hospital is located in East Arsi, one of the most disadvantaged areas of the country; poor transportation and seriously lacking infrastructure add to East Arsi’s problems. Maternal health indicators are very low, a fact that is reflected in the high number of fistula patients. The hospital conducts approximately 280 natural childbirths and 30 Caesarean sections per month. Most of the patients come from poor families and are treated for free.
Following the success of the fistula care and training program at the two university hospitals previously mentioned as well as the high case load of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia, WAHA International supported the integration of a new obstetric fistula care service into the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Jimma University Teaching Hospital.
Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care at Dolo Ado Referral Health Center
In September 2013, WAHA began implementing a program to ensure timely access to comprehensive emergency obstetric care (CEmOC) services in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia, the second largest refugee complex in the world. In this context, WAHA established the required infrastructure to provide CEmOC at the Bokolmayo health center and all necessary equipment and supplies. CEmOC services were successfully launched in early 2014.
In the framework of this initiative designed to improve maternal health outcomes for the refugee and host population, WAHA gives refresher courses in basic emergency obstetric care to existing local medical professionals. Community representatives will similarly be trained in safe motherhood practices and a motorbike ambulance system will be established to reinforce existing obstetric emergency referrals. Currently, WAHA International is the only provider of CEmOC for the majority of refugees in the camp.
In October 2014, we will be launching a reproductive health program to accompany the CEmOC project in Dolo Ado.
For our latest news from Ethiopia click here
To view our press kit on fistula in Gondar click here.
Below you can view an 8 minute video from Gondar, where three women with obstetric fistula share their stories as they travel from their villages to the hospital. Filmed before the new fistula ward was finalised in Gondar, the clip illustrates the difficult living conditions and the strength of these women as well as the doctors and nurses who help them as they recover.