Visit to the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Desta Mender (Village of Joy), and the Hamlin College of Midwifery.
In the capital, we visited Fistula Hospital, also known as ‘the hospital by the river’.
I was lucky to briefly speak to doctor Catherine Hamlin, whom I have known for 25 years. I gave her some typical Dutch ‘stroopwafels’ (syrup cookies), that I know to be her favourite.
From the Netherlands, we also brought a lot of adult diapers, which the women in the hospital have to use before their surgery.
Doctor Catherine is now over 90 years old and has been working as a gynaecologist in Ethiopia for over 60 years. She and her husband (who has passed away) dedicated their lives to helping fistula patients in Ethiopia. A simple medical procedure can help patients to lead dignified lives again.
Before returning home, the patients live in Desta Mender, a village just outside of the city, where they learn to handle their colostomy.
In addition, they can pick up some new skills in the village such as working in a vegetable garden or a restaurant. This helps them to regain their independence when they return home.
In the village, we ate an excellent plate of spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and freshly baked buns.
We were also shown around in their school for midwives, where we discussed the differences and similarities between their programme and ‘Adopt a Midwife’. A beneficial exchange.