Going Beyond the Physical Scars

Complete and compassionate care

The debilitating and often complex nature of an obstetric fistula injury requires patients to receive special and particular care by attentive medical professionals. The Hamlin Model of Care is centred on the idea of treating the patient as a whole; the fundamental respect for the patient allows Hamlin patients to rehabilitate from the physical, emotional and psychological trauma of fistula.

Patients receive counselling, physiotherapy, literacy and numeracy classes, nutrition, clothing and a hand-knitted Hamlin blanket; as such, Hamlin patients receive the best clinical care with compassion and dignity.

Rewriting their stories

The trauma of fistula is myriad – a woman can spend years suffering from this childbirth injury before they can access medical attention; during that time, she is often shunned by her husband, family and community due to her incontinence. The extensive nature of her injury often means that she cannot find regular employment.

In 2002, Dr Catherine Hamlin opened Desta Mender, the Hamlin rehabilitation and reintegration centre. ‘Desta Mender’ is Amharic for ‘joy village’ – for patients at Desta Mender, joy can be found once again in their lives, thanks individualised rehabilitation and reintegration programs. With the new skills and counselling that patients at Desta Mender receive, they are able to rewrite their stories and transform their lives to no longer be defined by fistula.

Desta Mender helps women rewrite their stories. The vocational skills training provided enables women to earn an income and go on to live with dignity and independence. You can help provide quality rehabilitation to more fistula patients by donating here today.

Learn more about the resilient women who have gone through Desta Mender by reading their patient stories here.

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