With Your Help We Can Do More. We helps women and girls by providing surgeries to heal their fistulas.
We plan on 500 target per year to provide fistula surgery.
We train 160+ individuals in 2021 on Fistula Care and Prevention.
We give counseling for all fistula patients admitted in the fistula ward.
We reach the women in the remote rural through our outreach program and messages announced through radio communications.
One of the main activities of Hope of light is to provide treatment for women affected with obstetric urogenital fistula. This organization provides its service in holistic approach. A woman with fistula and other pelvic floor disorder getting medical service under this organization is considered as a woman with medical problem, but not a case of fistula; this means if the women has medical problem in addition to fistula she will get help to solve her other medical problem while she is staying in the centre for fistula repair rather than only treating her fistula and send back her home. Counselling service is provided to the fistula patients to deal with their psychological and social issues as well.
These are the main reasons to qualify the organization to provide quality fistula care. Surgical treatments for Obstetric fistula and other pelvic floor disorder are given either by experienced senior fistula surgeon or surgeons trained at the centre under the supervision of senior fistula surgeon. Well trained nurses working in the centre ensured quality fistula care services. This activity include warm reception of women on arrival, the assessment of patient problem, providing pre- and post-operative care, apply infection-prevention techniques, assist during surgery, deliver counselling service, carry out discharge and follow-up procedures. Patients who need special attention will be identified and support will be given like physiotherapy treatment, nutritional support and hygiene care. All treatment cost will be fully covered by the project.
Due to a conflict occurred in Northern Ethiopia since November 2020, Health facilities across Amhara and Afar regions have been deliberately vandalized, destroyed and equipment looted. The Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr. Lia Tadesse, said in a press statement on September 20, 2021 that 20 hospitals and 277 health centers were practically made nonfunctional in the Amhara region alone.
Access to maternal and new born care services has suffered serious setbacks in conflict-affected due to the critical shortage of skilled health care providers, medical supplies and damage to health infrastructures. These obviously affect the service for pregnant mothers to have antenatal checkup and forced them to have labor and deliver at home. These increase the risk for mothers to develop obstetric fistula.
Hope of Light has considered the impact of health facilities destruction on the incensement of obstetric fistula incidence in the regions affected by the conflict. The organization has taken an action to strength the safe delivery services as part of fistula prevention program. The organization brings this issue to the awareness of partners that supports Hope of Light. One of the main donors of HOL, Ethiopiaid UK, responded for the call and it was possible to support the following 10 health centers after signing MOU with Amhara Regional Health Bureau (ARHB) and Ethiopian Society of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ESOG);
• From North Gondar Zone; Zarima Health Centre, Dib Bahir Health Centre, and Adigagra Health Centre,
• From South Gondar Zone; Gassay Health Centre, Kimer-Dingay Health Centre, Nefas-Mewcha Health Centre, and Checheho Health Centre, and
• From Welkayit Tegede Setit Humera Zone; Mar Wuha Health Centre, Akurarit Health Centre, and Emba-Gale Health Centre.
The learning process for fistula repair starts from acquiring the basic surgical principles, identifying the right type of surgical equipment, preparation of patients for surgery (preoperative care), surgical approach and techniques and close follow up of patients during post-operative period. This basic knowledge is part and parcel of the surgical management for having a successful fistula repair. The trainees never learn fistula repair by simple observation, they only learn if they are given a chance to do the surgery and handle the follow up on their own under the supervision of experienced surgeon. The type of training provided by Hope of Light categorized in two groups
1. Surgical hand-by skill for fistula repair – This is mainly provided to fellowship doctors in Uro-gynecology and residents in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
2. Conservative management, screening and prevention of obstetric fistula patients this part of training is provided for all health professional but mainly for General Practitioner, Health Officers and Midwives as they are on the first line to see fistula patients on their arrival to health facilities either during or after delivery at the districts level. These health professional trained how to manage patients with prolonged labour, screen fistula patients, when to refer fistula patient for surgical treatment. They also teach other health professionals and women in their community about the prevention of obstetric fistula.
Patients with obstetric fistula are mostly illiterate and do not have sufficient knowledge about the function and anatomy of their body. After the patient pre-operative evaluation the patient needs counselling about the procedure, the possible outcome of the surgery and its prognosis should be made clear to the patient, her husband or close relative who brought the patient to the Fistula Centre.
Furthermore, the cause of obstetric fistula is often not clear to fistula patients, they think it is either punishment or a curse from God for the sins they have committed. Some of them don’t believe that the problem is treatable until they meet and talk to the cured fistula patients. Some think that they are the only person with urinary incontinence following childbirth, and they are ashamed of it and never discussed about it with other person.
Moreover, the prolonged obstructed labor and the continuous leakage of urine affect the women psychologically more than the physical trauma. Thus they require a great deal of supportive measure to restore their mental trauma and reinstate them back to the society. For the reasons mentioned above fistula patients need individual counseling or in the form of group discussion to explain to them about the nature of their problem and to let them talk about their experience and share it with other patients.
One of the main strategies to eradicate obstetric fistula is by educating the community members that obstetric fistula is preventable and if it occurs that treatment is available and can be cured. There are many fistula patients who don’t seek medical advice because of the stigma associated with fistula, don’t know that fistula is treatable and or because of traditional beliefs that make them to consider fistula is not treatable. As a result they hide themselves from the rest of the community and live isolated from the rest of the society. Most of the risk factors that contribute for the occurrence of obstetric fistula can be prevented by teaching the community through health professionals, working in governmental health institutes, NGOs working in the community, young girls at school and by involving religious leaders and elderly community members and leaders. We also create mass community awareness through Radio announcement to identify obstetric fistula patient to disseminate information about obstetric fistula in the communities that are not easily reachable by the outreach activity.
Account Name: Hope of Light Civil Society Organization
Account Number: Wegagen Bank - 0864449411301 / Comercial Bank of Ethiopia - 1000424357085
Bank Address: CMC Michael, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Surgical treatment is not enough to overcome the consequences of obstetric fistula. The stigma associated with fistula is a long lasting condition and in most cases will continue to affect the daily lives of fistula suffers even after a successful fistula repair. As such, beyond medical treatment, fistula patient also need post-treatment support in order to fully recover from the damages caused by obstetric fistula and to reintegrate in to their communities.
It is imperative to realize that women with fistula are almost always from the very lowest-economic backgrounds.
In this sense, provide skill training for former fistula patients and supporting them to start their own income generating activities that leads fistula patients to improve their living condition, reintegrate into their community and achieve sustainable improvement in their life.
It is well known that fistula patients are illiterate, come from low socio-economic background. Usually they don’t have their own means of financial income. Consideringthis issue HOL has established a reintegration programfor thetreated fistula patients who have no income to support themselves. Through this reintegration program selected treated fistula patients enrolled in training program to produce soap. Production of soap is chosen because it’san activity that can be done with minimal to average space area.
Hope of Light primarily planned to settle a training center in Assela Fistula Center for soap production financed by Ethiopia Fund. This has given an opportunity to the patients to be trained while their stay in at the Center during theirpre- and post- operating perioduntil they are going to be discharged.
Since the establishment of the reintegration project we have trained 6 treated patients. These trainees were able to make liquid and bar laundry soaps. During the training we realized that our trainees needs support since most of our patients are illiterate and they cannot writeand read what is on the display of the digital scaletherefore, we ask them to bring one person who is close to them, has basic education and willing to continue to work with them and be a partner. Then, the selected partners are also included in the training program.
For those women who accomplish the training successfully will be offered all kind ofmaterials and chemicals that are necessary for the soap production. This is important to initiate the women to be engaged in the soap production after they returned backto their village.
The organization also provides support for each of the trainees by establishing a production center in a place where they live. As it is designed in the project 9 Square Meter plot wereselected nearby their house to build a single room where they can produce the soap. So far we build 5 production centers for 5 trainees. The trainees will be able to start the production soon. Hope of Light’s outreach coordinator and the trainers will monitor and evaluate their progress and help them throughout their production.