Continue Catherine’s dream of ensuring the health and dignity of mothers from preventable and treatable childbirth injuries.
We’ve restored dignity to over 50,000 women.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is an organisation dedicated to restoring the health and dignity of women who have survived the horrendous – and preventable – childbirth injury: obstetric fistula.
Founded almost 60 years ago by doctors Catherine and Reg Hamlin, these two surgical pioneers remained in Ethiopia following their initial three-year posting to continue treating the most marginalised women: those who have suffered an obstetric fistula, an internal injury caused by an obstructed childbirth, which leaves them incontinent, and humiliated with a horrible lingering odour.
These injuries are entirely preventable – in fact, obstetric fistulas are virtually a thing of the past in western countries. But in rural Ethiopia, where women have little or no access to maternal healthcare, they will be in agonising labour for days if their birth is obstructed. They almost always lose their baby and suffer unimaginably horrific internal damage that leaves them leaking urine, faeces, and sometimes both.
If that wasn’t traumatic enough, these women are isolated and pushed to the edge of their society – forgotten and invisible.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia works to mend this trauma, healing these women through surgery, rehabilitation and counselling – so they can be whole again.
Established by Dr Catherine Hamlin, the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is the Australian fundraising and outreach arm of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. We have one purpose and one purpose only: eradicating fistula. Forever.
When I first met Catherine, straightaway I saw shining through the qualities and attributes which have made her one of the most loved and admired women in the world: warmth, energy, humour, optimism, vivacity, empathy, authenticity. I treasure my friendship with Catherine and I am grateful for the source of inspiration, courage and support she brings to my life.
– Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO
Help us do more
Obstetric fistula can be replaced with a single life changing surgery. This operation can take as little as 60 minutes for simple cases.
Catherine’s dream is to eradicate obstetric fistula forever, so that every woman can be free of these atrocious injuries and live a life they deserve.
A life every woman deserves.