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Your support in action: Neela's story

Neela suffered unnecessarily for almost four decades with an advanced stage pelvic organ prolapse (POP), thinking nothing could be done to help her.

When she first noticed the condition, Neela’s daughter took her to a local healthcare provider for advice. She was told that her issue was age-related and that it would probably heal itself.

neela crop | Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation | Together we can eradicate obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.

She was also told no cure was available. Neela told us: “From that time on, I didn’t go to the clinic believing it is not curable.”

As the years passed, Neela’s condition worsened. Without medical assistance, her prolapse became advanced stage, seriously affecting her mobility and quality of life.

Neela suffered for a staggering 38 years.

Advanced stage POP remains one of the most common gynaecological problems in Ethiopia. Like obstetric fistula, advanced stage POP has devastating physical and psychological impacts on a woman.

Treatment can dramatically improve a woman’s health and quality of life.

A life restored

Finally, when Neela was 70 years old, her grandchildren told her that there was a car with a loudspeaker encouraging women with health issues to come forward.

Neela reached out and was transported to Hamlin’s Metu Fistula Hospital for surgery, which transformed her life.

She says: “I am happy. Especially when I saw women get cured and discharged home. I wished my turn to be soon.”

Hamlin’s Project Zero is finding women like Neela

As a vital part of Hamlin’s Project Zero, patient identification officers are going from village to village, house to house, finding women hidden away with untreated obstetric fistula injuries and other gynaecological conditions including advanced stage POP.

In addition to obstetric fistula repair, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia provides surgery for a range of gynaecological conditions, including advanced stage POP.

All six Hamlin fistula hospitals have a specialist surgeon with urogynaecology skills to undertake surgical repair of advanced stage POP.

This life-changing treatment is free of charge to patients like Neela.

Learn more about Advanced Stage Pelvic Organ Prolapse.


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All rights reserved 2023 Catherine Hamlin Foundation (R) (ABN58159647499)
Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is fiscally sponsored by KBFUS (EIN582277856) and KBF Canada (RCO769784893RR0001)

Photography credits to Cameron Bloom, Nigel Brennan, Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Johannes Remling and Martha Tadesse.

Patient names have been changed to protect the identities of those we help.