WHO Director-General’s Message for Catherine

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is a making a difference on the global health scene: he is the current Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). He has been a longtime supporter of Dr Catherine Hamlin and the remarkable work of her team at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.

The ripple effect

Earlier this year, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia celebrated Catherine’s 60th Anniversary in Addis Ababa.  The celebrations, which included the unveiling of a statue honouring Drs Reg and Catherine Hamlin, featured distinguished guests such as the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the First Lady Zinash Tayachew. Dr Tedros Adhanom was unable to attend the celebrations in person and in his absence chose to send a video message of support and congratulations to his dear friend, Catherine.

In his video, Tedros speaks of the ripple effect created by Catherine and her team: “it’s not just the [patients] who have benefitted… the ripple effect extends to families, communities and the entire nation. Thousands of health workers in Ethiopia and around the world have been trained in fistula surgery and the treatment of birth injuries.”

You can watch Tedros’ message to Catherine and Team Hamlin below:

Inspired to make a difference

Dr Tedros Adhanom served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, and subsequently as the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016. His work as Health Minister allowed him to see up close the incredible impact of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s work in treating and preventing fistulas. Tedros holds a PhD in Community Health and. MSc in Immunology of Infectious Diseases. His work in diplomacy and health – particularly in healthcare financing and infrastructure reforms has led to global recognition.

As the first African to serve as WHO’s Director-General, he has been able to bring global attention to issues more prevalent in countries like Ethiopia, including obstetric fistula and the work of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. In 2014, Tedros as part of the Ethiopian government, nominated Catherine for the Nobel Peace Prize.

For 60 of her 95 years, Catherine has been dedicated to providing world-class care for thousands of Ethiopian women. Her ground-breaking surgical technique, pioneered with her late husband Reg, still used today and taught to fistula surgeons from across the world.

You can support Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s efforts to train more surgeons in fistula repair by donating here.

More News