Transforming Lives Beyond Borders

Dr Catherine Hamlin has dedicated 60 years of her life to eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. During her time in Ethiopia, over 60,000 fistula sufferers have received life-changing treatment, and the maternal health landscape of the country has changed forever.

The success of Dr Catherine Hamlin and her team in Ethiopia has encouraged the Hamlin team to expand their support for women with fistula in other parts of the world, who have little to no access to medical care and are suffering with terrible injuries.

Hamlin’s partnership with FIGO

The tragedy of obstetric fistula is a reality for millions of women far beyond the borders of Ethiopia, with approximately 2 million fistula sufferers globally (World Health Organisation). Recognising this problem, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has worked alongside the International Federation for Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) to increase the number of trained fistula surgeons around the world and help more women.

To hear more about the FIGO training program from the Medical Director at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, watch the video below:

To date, 52 surgeons have undergone the FIGO Fistula Training Initiative and performed more than 6000 fistula repair operations across the developing world. Of these 52 surgeons, 28 have been trained at Dr Catherine Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, where they acquired best practice fistula surgery technique and knowledge of the Hamlin Model of Care to treat fistula.

Hamlin Model of Care

Developed by Catherine and her late husband Dr Reg Hamlin, the Hamlin Model of Care is a comprehensive approach to fistula treatment which recognises both the physical and emotional impact of the horrific injury. It goes beyond surgical repair treatment to include counselling, physiotherapy, complete nutrition, as well as access to literacy and numeracy classes. In 2018 alone, over 900 patients completed literacy and numeracy courses as part of Hamlin’s Rehabilitation Program.

For these women who have been shunned from society, the Hamlin Model of Care is a critical aspect of rebuilding self-belief, harnessing inner strength and empowering these women to live independently, with dignity and choices.

The surgeons in the Fistula Training Initiative are trained in this method, resulting in clinical excellence that does not compromise on treating every woman with compassion and dignity.

A Fistula-Free World

Fistula is a major public health issue across the developing world, yet it is an entirely preventable injury. A symptom of living in a poor rural context, millions of women are faced with the threat of obstetric fistula because of little to no access to professional healthcare during pregnancy and labour. The global surgeon training program enables Dr Catherine Hamlin and her team to continue to help women with fistula across the world. 

“These women and girls have suffered more than any woman should be called upon to endure. To meet only one was to be profoundly moved and called forth the utmost compassion that the human heart is capable of feeling.” Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, The Hospital by the River

Catherine’s dream is to eradicate fistula in Ethiopia by 2030, ultimately moving closer to a fistula-free world. Help make this dream a reality. Please consider donating today here.

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