This place will go on for many, many years until we have eradicated fistula altogether – until every woman in Ethiopia is assured of a safe delivery and a live baby.

– Dr Catherine Hamlin

Continuing Catherine’s journey to eradicate fistula. Forever.

Under Dr Catherine Hamlin’s pioneering guidance, over 60,000 Ethiopian women with fistula injuries have had their lives transformed under the Hamlin Model of Care. We are very proud of our achievements to date, but our task is nowhere near complete. It is estimated up to 31,000 Ethiopian women still live with an untreated fistula injury and new cases continue to occur. The team at Hamlin continue to carry Catherine’s torch and vision, will you support this work and help continue Catherine’s journey?

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Dr Catherine Hamlin AC
Dr Catherine Hamlin AC

What is the Hamlin Model of Care?

Catherine pioneered what has been recognised as the world’s best-practice preoperative and postoperative fistula treatment. The Hamlin Model of Care combines clinical excellence with Catherine’s vision of treating every woman with compassion and dignity. 

When a woman arrives at a Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia hospital, she is embraced with loving care. She is given nutritious food, a handmade blanket and clean clothing. A customised program is developed for her that includes surgical repair, rehabilitation, counselling and reintegration.

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Etagegn’s Story

“Here, everything is different. The nurses and doctors treat me with love, I am served with delicious, nutritious meals. I do physical exercise at the physiotherapy centre, learn how to make crafts and surprisingly all of these services are totally free,” says Etagegn.

Etagegn’s story is one of heartbreaking lows and hopeful highs: from the agony of obstetric fistula, to the optimism of a life restored after being lovingly cared for at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

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Dr Catherine Hamlin AC
Dr Catherine Hamlin AC

Transforming maternal care

Catherine and Reg Hamlin travelled to Ethiopia for the first time over 60 years ago, and initially only planned to stay for three years. On the evening of their arrival in Ethiopia, a fellow gynaecologist told them, “The fistula patients will break your hearts.” And they did.

The Hamlins had never seen an obstetric fistula case before and there was little or no treatment available in Ethiopia.

Catherine and Reg Hamlin refused to turn their backs on the women of Ethiopia.

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 a woman incontinent, humiliated and isolated.

They went about dramatically transforming the maternal healthcare landscape for the women of Ethiopia.

Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia remains the reference organisation and leader in the fight to eradicate obstetric fistula around the world, blazing a trail for holistic treatment and care that empowers women to reassert their humanity, secure their health and well-being, and regain their roles in their families and communities.

Dr Catherine Hamlin AC

Dr Catherine Hamlin’s work for obstetric fistula sufferers in Ethiopia continued uninterrupted for more than half a century, with more than 60,000 patients treated. No other woman, or man, has done as much to eradicate this preventable crippling condition and give these women back their lives.

Catherine was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and received numerous international awards and acknowledgements for her dedication and pioneering work.

List of awards

Dr Catherine Hamlin AC

A Lifetime of Caring

Read our blog posts about Dr Catherine Hamlin.
Give to Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.
Visit the Catherine Hamlin shop.

Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation has one purpose and one purpose only: eradicating fistula. Forever.