Dr. Karen Ballard

(Photo courtesy of Karen Ballard)

Dr. Karen Ballard has been appointed to develop and co-ordinate the research activities within Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. Having spent many years working in Women’s Health research in the UK, and more recently, Ethiopia, Karen brings extensive knowledge of how research is designed, implemented, communicated and funded. Working alongside the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation teams at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, Karen is helping to develop some exciting research projects, which will increase our understanding about fistula treatments and prevention and ultimately improve the care that we provide.

Research and the development and trialing of new clinical techniques are other main objectives of Hamlin Fistula. This is something towards which we are now committing more of our efforts and resources.

With the large number of cases that our Addis Ababa center manages and the increasing number in our mini-hospitals, we have the potential to build on the accumulated experience of the last 30 years. We now have the capacity to manage around 3,500 cases annually.

Our database now contains more than 17,000 documented cases. This is a great resource for research, which is being developed with the assistance of Bergen University.

We have done research in the following areas:

  • Hospital based, mainly unpublished
  • Antibiotic use
  • Amenorrhea and Infertility
  • Use of fat graft
  • Kap study on FGC
  • Neurological injuries associated with fistula
  • Use of urethral plugs and arising complications
  • Stress urinary incontinence treatment outcomes
  • Urinary drainage (closed system versus open drainage)
  • Prevalence of urinary tract infections amongst fistula patients
  • The association between mobility and health
  • Factors predisposing to obstetric fistula

Community Based National level studies on:

  • “Obstetric Fistula in Rural Ethiopia” – Prevalence of obstetric fistula, and social and health problems encountered by treated and untreated fistula patients.
  • Community based operational research with USAID and Intra-health
  • Evaluation of nationwide radio-program for prevention broadcasts.