The Fistula Care Plus team was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, a pioneer fistula surgeon in Ethiopia and co-founder of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. When Dr. Hamlin first arrived in Addis Ababa over 60 years ago, obstetric fistula was associated with a lifetime of stigma and poor health. Through the establishment of a treatment facility to provide surgical repair, women living with this maternal morbidity were able to access the care they needed to reclaim their lives. Today, this hospital is now a reference center and leader in the fight to eradicate obstetric fistula. Furthermore, by collaborating with partners to strengthen midwifery training, Dr. Hamlin helped to prevent future fistula from occurring.
While fistula has yet to be eradicated, the incredible impact Dr. Hamlin made on the lives and health of women cannot be overlooked. By bringing obstetric fistula into the light, Dr. Hamlin paved a way for our work to prevent and treat maternal morbidity and reduce stigma for those living with childbirth injuries. For that and much more, we are grateful. To read more on the life and work of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, visit the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation web page.
As we honor her legacy, let us remember Dr. Hamlin’s dream: “My dream is to eradicate obstetric fistula. Forever. I won’t do this in my lifetime, but you can in yours.”