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New phase of Project Zero

The hugely successful pilot of Project Zero – Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s ground-breaking new program to accelerate eradication of obstetric fistula – concluded in October 2023.

In Ale Woreda (district), with an estimated population of 85,408 people, teams of Hamlin-trained community volunteers and some 343 health extension workers carried out a total of 14,664 house-to-house surveys in 24 weeks.

Most household members had not heard about obstetric fistula before and were eager to learn more about it.

Project zero 1500x1000 1 | Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation | Together we can eradicate obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.

Seven women with decades-long fistula injuries and 56 women with Advanced Stage Pelvic Organ Prolapse were identified and transported to Hamlin’s Metu Fistula Hospital for life-changing surgery.

Many of these women have lived in social isolation for decades. Every woman can access tailored counseling, literacy and numeracy classes and vocational and life skills training at Desta Mender to restore their dignity and confidence.

Desta Mender 2 | Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation | Together we can eradicate obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.

Using learnings from the pilot and with significant support from local and regional health bureau, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the next phase of Project Zero began on 13 February 2024 in Didessa Woreda, with further rollouts throughout the year.


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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.