Obstetric fistula in Arba Minch

In Ethiopia, obstetric fistula remains one of the most visible indicators of inadequate maternal health care. Obstetric fistula still exists because health care systems fail to provide accessible, quality maternal health care, including family planning, skilled birth attendance, and basic and emergency obstetric care, and affordable treatment of fistula.

Thankfully, prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula has during the last three years gained attention in South Ethiopia. In 2005, the Yirga Alem Fistula Hospital opened. This was build with Norwegian support, and Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital runs the unit.

This week, we opened the second Fistula Unit in Arba Minch in south Ethiopia. It is a private gift. Altogether it has a new delivery (16 beds) and gynaecological (40 beds) wards, new outpatient departments for women and children, and a 24-bed fistula unit, and two new operation theatres. Through this work we hope to reduce maternal deaths and reduce obstetric fistulas.

We have agreed with the local government and peasant associations to help us in finding women with fistulas.

During the past two years, 250 women from this area were operated in Yirga Alem. Now they do not need to travel 250 km to get treatment.

Our work shall be done in close collaboration the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and with the Unit in Yirga Alem.

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