Catherine Awarded the 2018 NSW Senior Australian of the Year

A lifetime of caring

Dr Catherine Hamlin has dedicated six decades of her life to serving some of the most vulnerable women in the world: Ethiopian women who have suffered a preventable childbirth injury, obstetric fistula. On 13 November 2017, Catherine’s life work was recognised when she was awarded the 2018 NSW Senior Australian of the Year.

Catherine was nominated for the NSW award alongside humanitarian Reverend Bill Crews, organ transplant advocate Brian Myerson and singer/songwriter and musical educator Don Spencer. From this group of incredible people, Catherine’s courage and tenaciousness throughout her 60 years in Ethiopia were recognised as exemplary.

Dr Alison Morgan, Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation Board member and Catherine’s niece, accepted the award in Sydney on her aunt’s behalf. Alison said that Catherine is “enormously humbled” by the news but very pleased that it will help focus attention on the plight of women who suffer with childbirth injuries.

An inspirational woman

The Australian of the Year awards are designed to profile leading citizens who are role models for us all. People who inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Australia and a better world. Catherine certainly inspires us, and it has been wonderful to see the outpouring of support for her since the award was announced.

The National Australia Day Council highlighted her work as a surgical pioneer, alongside her late husband Dr Reg Hamlin. They also noted Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s Global Surgeon Training Program – where surgeons from around the world visit Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital to train in Dr Catherine Hamlin’s best practice fistula care. In the past three years, 28 world-class surgeons have travelled to Ethiopia to study the advances that Catherine and her team’s work in fistula repair. The program works towards Catherine’s ultimate goal of a fistula-free wold.

The national award, announced on Australia Day in 2018, was given to a very deserving winner, biophysicist Dr Graham Farquhar.

60 years of progress and a goal in sight

Catherine’s achievements over the past 60 years have been acknowledged on an international scale – most notably with her two nominations for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

Her accomplishments have been immense, as she and her team have treated over 60,000 women with fistula in Ethiopia, restoring their health and dignity.

Catherine turned 95 in January this year and still lives on the grounds of the famous Hospital by the River.

Catherine’s work, however, is not over yet: we dream of a fistula-free Ethiopia by 2030.

You can help make this goal a reality by contributing here today.

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