With support from the Ethiopia Fund, WAHA has completed renovation works and the installation of a resting area and garden facilities at the Assella Fistula Center, with the objective of providing a more comfortable and functional environment for patients and personnel.
Since 2010, WAHA has been working in Ethiopia in partnership with the University Teaching Hospitals of Gondar, Jimma and Assella by setting up and running specialized fistula care centers within the gynecology-obstetric areas of each of the hospitals. The establishment of these fistula care units responds to the need of providing not only medical treatment and centralized fistula-related care services, but also special post-operative care in a harmonious and comfortable environment for the patients. This is important since a great number of women who live with fistula face the rejection of their relatives and their community, a situation which leaves them ostracized, with an emotional and psychological scar which is often more painful and difficult to heal than the physical one.
WAHA takes on this problem from a multidimensional approach. Patients are provided with psychological support before and after their surgery, and they also receive a blanket and new clothes upon their departure, as well as a small amount of money enough to buy 3 or 4 sheep that may be used for income-generating activities. The centers are thought of as places where the patients can find the peace and hope they need to be able to go on with their lives. Open resting areas play a key role in this process, as they allow women to spend their recovering time in a pleasant environment, where they can bond with other patients and start creating new social networks, as it is often the case among women who get to know each other while recovering together in the center. A full recovery combines the healing of body, mind and spirit, and it prepares the women for their new life ahead.
In 2013, 153 women were successfully treated at the Assella Fistula Center. This center has the capacity to provide treatment and recovery for 20 women at a time. A professional gynecologist is based in the center and WAHA fistula surgeon specialists visit it to perform surgeries regularly.
Besides the installation of the new rest area, this latest phase of renovations includes the setting up of a completely new fully-equipped examination room as well as painting, re-tiling of floors and walls, repairing of the roof, upgrading the sanitation facilities and carrying out maintenance to the electricity and drainage systems.
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