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We are excited to introduce you 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.

Medical Director and Chief Surgeon at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital Dr Yeshineh Demrew Yigezu tells us what it takes to lead one of the World’s leading fistula hospitals and sends a special thank you to UK supporters.

Dr Yeshineh Demrew Yigezu, Medical Director and Chief Surgeon at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital is remembering his time as young medical student in the city. “I came to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital as a resident student and worked with Dr. Catherine Hamlin herself – I was completely inspired” he tells us.

Appointed to his current role last year, Dr Yeshineh has worked at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital for the past six years, and before that at Hamlin’s Mettu Regional Fistula Hospital for three years whilst also working as a gynaecological surgeon at a nearby government hospital. Prior to this he served for seventeen years as an obstetrician and gynaecologist in Oromia region, and also worked as a general practitioner, district health manager and head of health programmes division in Assosa Health Bureau.

“I came to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital as a resident student and worked with Dr. Hamlin herself – I was completely inspired”

Dr Yeshineh, Medical Drector

He is passionate about transferring his years of experience and skills, and the skills of Hamlin’s wider surgical team, to the next generation of health professionals and explains a high number of medical students in Ethiopia come to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital as part of their gynaecological rotation. His advice for those that want a career in gynaecology is clear “an interested student is the most important thing – experience can be gained with time” he emphasises.

Dr Yeshineh is also supporting skills development programmes for practising gynaecologists in Ethiopia.

Dr Yeshineh, Medical Director and Chief Surgeon

But this is all alongside his demanding day to day work as a Chief Surgeon. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, a typical week at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital would see 15 patients having fistula surgery across the hospital’s three operating theatres. He explains one complex surgical case can take up to 4.5 hours alone and typically he and his fellow surgeons are joined by two to three theatre nurses.

When discussing his biggest challenge he explains he is seeing more patients arriving at Hamlin in need of urinary diversion surgery as a result of complex fistula. He tells us there is a need to build work in this area, although this is now well under way with a number of surgeons undertaking continuing professional development fellowships in urogynaecology.

His final message is to Hamlin Fistula UK’s supporters – “Without your support, our work is impossible – our success is yours too’’.

Over the year ahead, Dr Yeshineh and his fellow surgeons across Hamlin’s six hospitals will undertake 1,366 surgeries for women in need.  You can support their work by donating today.

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