Gynaecologists Catherine and Reg Hamlin left Australia in 1959 on a short contract to establish a midwifery school in Ethiopia. Over 40 years later, Catherine is still there, running one of the most outstanding medical programs in the world. Through this work thousands of women have been able to resume a normal existence after living as outcasts, cured of the horrible obstetric fistula. The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 2 million women have untreated fistula and that approximately 100,000 women develop fistula each year. Fistula is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has treated over 30,000 women over 33 years. Their cure rate is over 90%. Fistula can be prevented if laboring women are provided with adequate emergency obstetric care when complications arise.
For more information about the awe inspiring work of Catherine Hamlin visit the Fistula Foundation site.