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2021 Christmas Message from our CEO, Helen Marriott

“Despite the odds, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has…navigated the difficult conditions posed by the pandemic through the extraordinary efforts of the clinicians and staff, the commitment of the senior management team, and the unwavering support of international partners”.

This year I open with a quote from my colleague, and CEO of our parent charity in Ethiopia, Tesfaye Mamo, who could not have said it better.

2021 has been a challenging year for our hero health worker colleagues in Ethiopia. Yet despite this, with your support, they have provided 1,567 life changing surgeries for women with childbirth injuries at our centres across Ethiopia – exceeding our target for the year by 14%.

I invite you to take a moment to explore some of the inspirational and moving stories of these patients on our blog. The commitment of our UK supporters and partners has been vital to help make this work possible and change the lives of so many women – thank you.

This has also been a year of highlights for Hamlin in Ethiopia and some which stand out for me include:

  • Seeing Hamlin’s surgical work take a big step forward with the recruitment of a specialist diversion surgeon, Dr Wondwossen. His appointment is already making a significant difference to Hamlin’s work for women who need a stoma.

  • Congratulating 25 fourth year midwifery students at the Hamlin College of Midwives who worked hard to complete their final modules and graduate, with a 100% pass rate. They have been deployed to their new jobs at rural health centres across Ethiopia.

  • Welcoming 20 new midwifery students at the Hamlin College of Midwives who for the first time were selected from the remote Gambela and Benishangul regions of Ethiopia. This will make a significant contribution to future midwifery services in these regions.

However, it has also been a challenging year and we remember and celebrate the life of Kerubish Tadesse, a nurse aid at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, who tragically lost her life to Covid-19 in March at the age of just 38.

Closer to home, here in the UK, we were delighted to welcome Hamlin Fistula UK’s first Patron, Baroness Tessa Blackstone. Baroness Blackstone is a leading advocate for women’s health issues around the world and has enjoyed a distinguished career in education, politics and public life. She joins us as a champion for our work in Ethiopia and we look forward to working together to end fistula.

Looking ahead, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is continuing to take all necessary measures to protect staff, patients and students using World Health Organisation guidelines and we are more committed than ever to ensuring no woman in Ethiopia suffers the agony of fistula.

It is your support that makes our work possible. During the 2020-21 financial year you – our UK supporters – helped us raise a fantastic £416,475 for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. 

I would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you for your continued support, especially during this challenging year.

With best wishes for the festive season and New Year.


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