We are excited to introduce you over the coming weeks to our amazing team of #HealthHeroes in Ethiopia.
These individuals are providing life-changing support for women who have suffered devastating childbirth injuries including fistula, during the pandemic and before.
First up in our #MeetTheTeam campaign – Dr. Betty, General Practitioner in the Outpatients Department at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital describes her work with patients as they first arrive at the hospital.
For many women arriving at Hamlin, their consultation with Dr. Betty marks the start of a new chapter in their lives.
Dr. Betty is the GP doctor in the Outpatients Department at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and is the first responder to women as they arrive at the hospital, managing frontline patient assessments.
She is a central part of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s team of health professionals and works closely with specialists and surgeons to guide the initial care pathway for a new patient, undertaking initial screening and lab investigations.
“Patients are screened for a range of gynaecological conditions including cervical cancer on arrival” Dr Betty explained. “Many women are experiencing depression as a result of their condition and we focus on encouraging them to stay strong” she told us, noting that that rehabilitation and support from psychiatric nurses are a key part of Hamlin’s model of care throughout a patient’s treatment.
“Many women are experiencing depression as a result of their condition and we focus on encouraging them to stay strong”Dr Betty
If a patient arrives having very recently developed a fistula, Dr Betty provides counselling on managing the initial wound healing process, to help them be ready for surgery, together with explaining how to use supplies and any necessary devices. Dr. Betty explained that at this point many women with fistula have been avoiding drinking water to lessen their incontinence, so a big focus of her counselling is to help them understand the importance of carrying on drinking.
Dr. Betty shared that often the women who arrive at the hospital have been suffering from fistula for a long time, some, sadly, for many years. “Sometimes women who developed their fistula while giving birth at home may have suffered at home for years” she told us, explaining “Women with longer term fistula have often developed other health complications including foot drop and contractures”.
Once a patient is admitted, Dr Betty continues to provide care throughout their time at Hamlin. Alongside this work, she also runs a general outpatients clinic once a week providing essential ongoing care for women who need longer term support and rehabilitation.
Dr Betty is a vital member of Hamlin’s team, changing women’s lives.
We look forward to introducing you to more members of the team over the coming weeks. You can support the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia team continue their vital work by donating today. #MeetTheTeam.