Ethopia*Services in Ethiopia were supported under the previous Fistula Care project (2007-2013). Visit the Countries page to learn about countries currently supported under the new Fistula Care Plus project.

Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa, where, according to UNFPA, over 3 million women give birth each year. Access to medical care is particularly difficult for women in rural areas, resulting in high maternal mortality and disability.

USAID-supported fistula services in Ethiopia began in 2006 in Amhara, the region with the highest prevalence of obstetric fistula, and expanded to Tigray and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) in 2007.

The USAID/Ethiopia Mission has an agreement with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia to support activities at three regional Hamlin centers. Fistula Care partner IntraHealth International supported four pre-repair centers and conducted training and outreach to populations in the Amhara region covered by more than 540 health centers and health posts. The two programs coordinated their activities in the Amhara region.

  • Bahir Dar Hamlin Fistula Center in the Amhara Region
  • Mekelle Hamlin Fistula Center in the Tigray Region
  • Yirga Alem Hamlin Fistula Center in the Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR) (prevention only)
  • Pre-repair units at district health centers located in Adet, Dangla, and Woreta
  • Pre-repair unit at Tefera Hailu Memorial Hospital in Sekota

Program Results: 2006 – 2012

  • More than 2,029 women arrived at the four pre-repair centers seeking care for obstetric complications, and 1,273 with obstetric fistula were referred to Bahir Dar or Mekelle for repair.
  • Fistula Care trained 4,397 health workers in the prevention, recognition and referral of obstetric fistula.
  • Fistula Care equipped 3,073 community volunteers to provide information about fistula prevention and treatment in the communities around the four pre-repair centers managed by Fistula Care partner IntraHealth International.

News and Resources

Program Update: Training Package Targets Fistula Prevention in Ethiopia

Technical Brief: Fistula Pre-Repair Center Model in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia

Resources for Fistula Services Developed in Ethiopia

Stories from the Field from Ethiopia

Program Update: Opening the Sekota Pre-Repair Unit

Supported Sites

Four pre-repair units were supported through Fistula Care:

Dangla pre-repair center
Pre-repair center
Dangla pre-repair center
Signpost welcomes clients

Tefera Hailu Memorial Hospital in the town of Sekota, East Amhara opened a pre-repair unit in late November 2010 with support from Fistula Care partner IntraHealth International. The unit provides women with the first steps of fistula treatment. The unit has three rooms in which to accommodate patients and a staff mentor to address the physical, social and psychological impacts of fistula. When patients are healthy enough for surgery, they are referred and transported to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Mekelle, where they undergo fistula repair surgery.

Fistula Care partner IntraHealth International also worked with health centers located in Adet, Dangla, and Woreta to identify and screen women with fistula and provide referrals for repair. To decongest the Bahir Dar fistula center, these health centers provided nutritional support, treatment of infections and infestations, and counseling, so that women with fistula were ready to be repaired at the time that they were referred. With funding from USAID, an emergency obstetric unit was been renovated and providers trained at the Dangla Health Center to provide cesarean section services.

Three sites were supported through a bilateral agreement between USAID/Ethiopia and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia:

Bahir Dar is located 340 kilometers northwest of Addis Ababa. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (formerly known as the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital) opened a branch obstetric fistula repair center in Bahir Dar to increase access to fistula repair services for women living in rural areas. USAID supported the Bahir Dar Hamlin Fistula Hospital, a 44-bed facility, to provide quality fistula surgery. The Bahir Dar Fistula Center works closely with the Felege Hiwot Regional Hospital in Bahir Dar (a large public hospital serving the Amhara Region) to facilitate women’s access to cesarean section services. The fistula center supported a community outreach component to raise awareness about fistula prevention.

The Mekelle Hamlin Fistula Center is located 466 miles north of Addis Ababa, in the Tigray Region. The Mekelle Hamlin Fistula Center has 28 beds for fistula patients. Support to this center began in 2007. In addition to Mekelle’s treatment services, community outreach activities raised awareness about fistula prevention. The pre-repair unit in the East Amharan town of Sekota refers fistula patients to Mekelle.

The Yirga Alem Hamlin Center in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) received support to create awareness and provide education about fistula prevention and treatment.