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Project Zero: Finding women hidden away with obstetric fistula

The next phase of Project Zero, Hamlin’s ground-breaking program to accelerate the eradication of obstetric fistula, started in Didessa Woreda in the Oromia region of Ethiopia on 13 February 2024.

This woreda (district) covers an area of 244 square miles, with an estimated number of 18,208 rural households.

An initial baseline assessment was conducted to determine levels of awareness of fistula and use of maternal healthcare services. Both were rated very low, meaning there is significant work to be done by the Project Zero team in this woreda.

At the start of March, the Health Development Army (HDA) together with health extension workers started house-to-house surveys to find women hidden with untreated obstetric fistula injuries.

The team are halfway through work in this woreda, and 81 women have been found, treated and transferred to Hamlin’s Metu Fistula Hospital for treatment and are now able to start their lives anew. 

Project Zero will be rolled out to Fedis Woreda and Serahiti Woreda in the second half of 2024, with more pilots planned for 2025.

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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.