Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa
Blankets for the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa
During 2014 and 2015 the Inner Wheel Club of Fairfield, NZ293, has undertaken knitting peggy squares to be made in to blankets for the women undergoing treatment at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa. So far we have made 10 blankets for the women and 5 baby blankets.
The sheltered compound near the centre of Addis Ababa, the sprawling capital of Ethiopia, is a haven for women who have suffered the trauma of an obstructed labour – a problem easily dealt with in the developed world by assisted delivery or caesarean section, but disastrous without medical intervention. The awful injuries that such labour produces are called fistulae, the tearing of bladder and/or bowel. Without medical intervention, the ensuing incontinence makes her an outcast from her social and family group, condemned to ostracism and isolation for the rest of her life. 38 women a day are coming to the clinic.
The Hamlin Fistula Hospital (set up in Addis Ababa in 1974 by Doctors Reginald (NZ) and Catherine (Australia) Hamlin) and 5 clinics in regional centres, treat and care for these women for free. Often they are then able to return to their homes and even to have another safe pregnancy, thanks to monitoring by the midwives trained at the Hamlin College of Midwives. All the patients are poor and many walk or are carried to the hospital, sometimes on donkeys and may have no personal possessions. On arrival, the women receive a hand knitted blanket together with their hospital gown and shoes if they arrive barefoot. This knitted blanket becomes a treasured possession. lt both comforts and warms her and shows her that someone cares about her. These blankets are treasured by the women who keep them for decades.
Posted: Sat 15 Aug 2015