A Runaway Success: Physios Supporting Hamlin

Drs Reg and Catherine Hamlin pioneered the surgical technique to treat the most horrific childbirth injury, obstetric fistula.  This best practice pre-operative and post-operative care, championed by Catherine and her team, incorporates treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration. This world-class treatment has drawn global attention of physiotherapists and other allied health professionals.

For the staff at AJ Physio & Sydney Pelvic Clinic, Catherine’s commitment to holistic healthcare, including a large focus on physiotherapy, inspired them to take action to support fistula survivors in Ethiopia.

Inspired to take action

AJ Physio’s support for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia stems from the leadership of its Principal Physiotherapist, Angela James. Upon reading Catherine’s autobiography written with John Little, ‘The Hospital By the River,’ Angela was inspired to support Catherine’s work. As a physiotherapist, Angela was particularly aware of the importance of post-surgery issues when dealing with stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

“There is Level 1A evidence for pelvic floor muscle training to best manage SUI. Critical factors that influence the quality of this evidence based intervention include individualised feedback from an experienced physiotherapist and appropriate progression of exercises,” Angela says.

Over the past four years, Angela and the team at AJ Physio have raised thousands of dollars in support of the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation. The entire team at AJ Physio combine their avid support of Team Hamlin’s work in Ethiopia with their passion for exercise; employees have participated in several running events to fundraise for Catherine’s work.

Going the extra mile

On a balmy Sunday in mid-September, the team at AJ Physio participated in the Sydney Running Festival; the weather perfect for achieving personal bests and making fond memories with friends. The runners from AJ Physio went the extra mile and used the running festival as an opportunity to fundraise for Hamlin.

Set with a goal of $2,800 – the cost of four life-changing fistula-repair surgeries – AJ Physio have thus far raised $2,659, less than $150 shy of their target!

This was not the group’s first time fundraising for Hamlin through running events: in 2018 they raised over $2,200 for physiotherapy by participating in the Sydney Running Festival and other initiatives at the clinic.


The importance of physiotherapy

Physiotherapy and rehabilitation is vital in the pre-operative and post-operative periods of a patient’s stay at Hamlin. Many of the patients who arrive at six Hamlin Hospitals across Ethiopia are severely underweight, physically weak and have experienced muscular atrophy as a result of obstetric fistula.

In June 2019, the Australian Physiotherapy Association featured an in-depth article about Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s physiotherapy program for its patients. You can discover more about Hamlin’s work here.

Physiotherapy facilitates successful fistula repair surgeries and helps patients recover from the trauma of obstetric fistula. Click here to support a woman’s extended physical rehabilitation program today. 

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