Following a presentation at a Regional meeting last year, clubs within the Midland Arden Region have been knitting blankets for the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa. Obstetric fistulae are common in sub-Saharan Africa and other poor countries where good care in childbirth is not available. If the labour becomes obstructed, the mother, if she is fortunate enough to survive, will deliver a stillborn baby, but the prolonged labour often wears a hole between the bladder and the vagina. The outcome is lifelong misery due to a total and permanent incontinence, and is deeply humiliating. This can only be cured by skilled surgery.
Whilst the hospital is in the tropics, at night the temperature drops considerably from the daytime heat. The blankets are really shawls to protect the patients from the cold. Most of the patients take their blankets home with them when they leave the hospital.