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Christmas appeal 2023 launches –
Project Zero: Road Map to a Fistula-Free Ethiopia

Our Project Zero team in Ethiopia invite you support our Big Give Christmas Challenge 2023 appeal!

For one week, from Tuesday 28 November to Tuesday 5 December 2023, all donations to our work made online via the Big Give will be doubled.

Funds raised from the appeal will support the launch of our exciting new programme Project Zero. Starting in Metu, Project Zero is a bold new initiative to accelerate the end of the devastating birth injury obstetric fistula across Ethiopia – district by district, once and for all.

The UK’s largest online match-funding campaign

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s largest online matched-funding campaign. Founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Alec Reed CBE, each year the campaign raises millions of pounds for hundreds of participating charities.

Since 2019, thanks to our supporters, our participation in the Christmas Challenge has grown, and this year we have set our most ambitious target to date for women in Ethiopia: to raise a total of £40,000 to enable women living with untreated fistula in isolated rural communities to get the help they urgently need through our new programme Project Zero.

There are estimated to be thousands of women suffering with untreated obstetric fistula injuries in underserved rural areas of Ethiopia. In addition to this, every year a further 1,000 women develop fistula after suffering an obstructed childbirth.

We’ve made it our mission to bring this number down to zero.

We know it’s a big task, but we also know that with our systematic woreda by woreda (district by district) approach it is achievable and within our capabilities.

How Project Zero will change lives

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is working closely with woreda health bureaus and other partners to end fistula in multiple districts each year through a three-step approach: identification and treatment, prevention and education. Pilot projects will inform the expansion and roll out of this multi-year programme from 2024 onward.

Project Zero’s programme activities will support and contribute to Ethiopia’s National Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Obstetric Fistula.

We have three overarching ambitions: to identify and treat all fistulas, to improve maternal health care in the Woreda and ensure that change is sustained, and to continually learn so that Project Zero can be as effective as possible.

Tesfaye Mamo, CEO, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Identification: Project Zero will ensure Ethiopian women living with fistula are found, treated, and given back their lives. We will train health workers and volunteers to undertake house to house surveys and community outreach to search districts for women living with fistula and make referrals.

Community Education: We will target community and religious leaders to help raise awareness of fistula and maternal health risks and what action people can take: whether they are pregnant or living with an untreated childbirth injury themselves, or know someone who is.

Treatment: We will enable women identified with fistula and pelvic organ prolapse to come to a Hamlin hospital and receive free treatment, by arranging return transport, reducing out of pocket costs for patients and providing all medical services free of charge as part of our wider work.

Prevention: Midwifery clinics in targeted districts will be supported by Hamlin midwives to improve maternal health care and outcomes and end new fistula injuries. Through this expansion of our prevention work, we will deliver comprehensive ante-natal care to thousands of women

In 2024 we will begin the roll out of the programme in three woredas. Over the long-term, Project Zero aims to declare multiple woredas as fistula-free, toward our ultimate goal to end fistula in Ethiopia.

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