What We Do

We have one purpose and one purpose only: Eradicating Fistula. Forever.

Dr Catherine Hamlin’s goal was to eradicate obstetric fistula forever, so that every woman can be free from this atrocious childbirth injury. No other woman, or man, has done as much to eradicate this preventable, crippling condition and give these women back their lives.

Founded more than 65 years ago, by pioneering Australian Dr Catherine Hamlin and her husband Dr Reg Hamlin, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has treated more than 70,000 women. While enormous progress has been made, it is estimated up to 31,000 Ethiopian women still live with an untreated obstetric fistula injury. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is working hard to locate them in remote areas of the country and repair their injuries.

In addition, each year approximately 1,000 new fistula cases occur in Ethiopia. Through our ambitious Project Zero program, our mission is to bring these numbers down to zero, and make Catherine’s vision of a Fistula-Free Ethiopia a reality.

Surgery is also available for a range of other gynecological conditions, including advanced-stage pelvic organ prolapse, where one or more of the pelvic organs slips from their normal position and into the vagina, causing a bulge. Left untreated, this can result in kidney damage and can have a devastating impact on women’s lives. 

Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia comprises Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, five Hamlin regional fistula hospitals, the Hamlin College of Midwives, more than 90 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics, and the Hamlin Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre (Desta Mender). Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is fully staffed by over 550 Ethiopian professionals – many of whom were trained by Catherine – and who today continue her work.

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 wellbeing, and regain their roles in their families and communities.

Eradicating fistula. Forever.

We believe no woman should suffer the pain and indignity of a preventable childbirth injury.

Accelerating Change

Project Zero
Project Zero

It is estimated that there are up to 31,000 historic cases of obstetric fistula, with around 1,000 Ethiopian women suffering new birth injuries every year. Project Zero aims to reduce these numbers to zero. Going from door to door, Project Zero teams will find and treat women living with obstetric fistula in every woreda (district) of the country, while also focusing on activities to prevent childbirth injuries in the future.


Dr Catherine Hamlin was a pioneer in treating obstetric fistula and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is globally renowned for its treatment technique. Over 70,000 Ethiopian women with obstetric fistula injuries have had their lives transformed by Hamlin’s clinical team, under the Hamlin Model of Care.


Dr Catherine Hamlin’s fight to end fistula saw her lead a program of prevention throughout Ethiopia. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia recruits students from rural areas, puts them through rigorous training as midwives, and deploys them back to their villages where their skills are desperately needed. Hamlin Midwives prevent obstetric fistula and save lives. 

Rehabilitation and Reintegration

Dr Catherine Hamlin always believed that treating a fistula patient isn’t just treating a hole in the bladder, but rather the whole patient. Beyond the emotional and physical mending of scars, each patient is given a customised rehabilitation plan. Women are empowered to thrive beyond the darkness of fistula – with hope, health and independence.

Empowering Women

Nothing shows the impact of our work better than the stories of women who have had their dignity and life restored, thanks to the support you give and the work we do to end obstetric fistula.