Help finish what Catherine and Reg started in 1959.
Your gift will help us achieve Catherine’s dream of eradicating fistula in Ethiopia by 2030.
Sixty years ago, Drs Reg and Catherine Hamlin travelled to Ethiopia for what was meant to be a three-year post. When they arrived they found thousands of women suffering from devastating fistula injuries. They knew they could never turn their back on these women. This was a turning point for maternal health in Ethiopia.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia began with two committed, pioneering surgeons. Now in 2019, Catherine’s team of 550 dedicated staff work across the Addis Ababa Fistula Hopsital, five regional Hamlin Fistula hospitals, a college training Hamlin midwives and Hamlin’s rehabilitation centre. Every patient is given a customised program of treatment, nutrition, physiotherapy and counselling, known as the Hamlin Model of Care. Since the Hamlins’ arrival in 1959, the Hamlin team has treated over 60,000 women to repair their fistula injuries.
Catherine and Reg first opened their Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in 1974 and it has retained its mantle as a world-class fistula treatment facility and centre of excellence. Today the clinical team at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia comprises some of the finest fistula surgeons in the world.
In 2014, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia began working in partnership with the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) to increase the number of skilled fistula surgeons in the world’s least developed countries. In the last three years, 28 surgeons and six nurses from around the world have trained at Hamlin. Read more here.
The best solution to ending fistula is to prevent it in the first place. The Hamlins’ original plan for working in Ethiopia was to train midwives so that all women would have access to a clean, safe birth. In 2007, Catherine returned to her original vision with the development of the Hamlin College of Midwives. Since its opening, 145 Hamlin midwives have graduated, taking up positions at 66 Hamlin Midwifery Clinics across rural Ethiopia. By ensuring there is a midwife for every woman, we can reach Catherine’s goal of eradicating fistula in Ethiopia by 2030. Read more here.
Dr Catherine Hamlin has always believed that treating a fistula patient isn’t just treating a hole in the bladder but rather the whole patient. Beyond the physical mending of scars and injury, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia provides rehabilitation programs that help recovering fistula sufferers reintegrate into their community.
In 2002, Catherine opened Desta Mender. Meaning ‘Joy Village’, Desta Mender is a farm and training facility where longer-term patients are provided with counselling and a skills training program that is individually tailored for each woman. For these women who have been shunned from society, this Hamlin Model of Care is a critical aspect of rebuilding self-belief and empowering women to live independently, with dignity and choices. Read more here.
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