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Australia Gives $2 Million to Help Women in Africa

Australia Gives $2 Million to Help Women in Africa

Australia will provide $2 million over the next two years to further fund the work of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, in treating women with the debilitating condition, obstetric fistula.

The Australian Government, through its overseas aid agency AusAID, will make the contribution to the Hamlin Fistula International Foundation, established to earn income for the work of the Fistula Hospital.

Since 1993, the Government has provided more than $1.77 million for various activities associated with the hospital, which offers services for women with childbirth injuries - mainly obstetric fistula as a result of prolonged labour.

Of the estimated 2.9 million pregnant women in Ethiopia, three in every 1000 develop an obstetric fistula which often results in social exclusion and family rejection.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than two million women are living with fistula in developing countries and that an additional 50,000 to 100,000 new cases occur each year.

The hospital is now treating more than 1200 of the approximately 8000 new cases in Ethiopia every year.

It also provides training for medical personnel from all over the world.

Australian Drs Reginald and Catherine Hamlin established the hospital in Ethiopia in 1974.

As well as assisting the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, the Government in May this year, contributed $300,000 to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Campaign to End Fistula, which coordinates awareness-raising, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Reproductive health is a development priority for the Australian Government, which expects to spend about $106 million in 2005-06 on population and reproductive health in the areas of HIV/AIDS, sexual health, family planning and maternal health.

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