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2023 Christmas Message from our CEO, Helen Marriott

Reflecting on a Year of Impact and Gratitude

Thanks to you, our generous supporters, over the past year we have been able to provide life-changing health services for women across Ethiopia, including 3,580 surgeries for childbirth injuries.

As we approach the end of another remarkable year at Hamlin Fistula UK, I am filled with gratitude and pride for the incredible journey we’ve embarked on together. Whether through financial contributions, knitting blankets, or spreading awareness, your commitment has truly made a difference.

Your unwavering support has been the driving force behind our achievements, and I am thrilled to share the impact we’ve made in the fight against obstetric fistula.

Milestones and Achievements

This year has been a testament to what we can achieve when we come together with a shared purpose. Some of the highlights include:

  • Providing 3,580 surgeries for childbirth injuries to women free of charge, helping them to recover from obstetric fistula and advanced pelvic organ prolapse and reclaim their lives and independence.

  • Enabling 225 women to receive three-month residential rehabilitation and livelihoods training at our rehabilitation centre Desta Mender.

  • Supporting 124 students to study for Bachelors and Masters degrees in Midwifery at the Hamlin College of Midwives.

  • Deploying 22 newly qualified Hamlin midwives to rural health centres across Ethiopia, ready to change thousands of women’s lives.

These accomplishments are a reflection of the collective impact of our community and the tangible change we are bringing to the lives of countless women. Behind every statistic and milestone, there are real stories of transformation. I am inspired by the courage and resilience of the women we serve, like Ayinalem*, pictured, who told us after her fistula surgery,

“Now I am leading a happy life free from suffering. I’ve started living like a woman again”


I am also particularly proud of our new programme Project Zero: the road map for a fistula-free Ethiopia. Project Zero is a brand new initiative and an ambitious yet achievable programme that will use a woreda-by-woreda (district by district) approach to end fistula in Ethiopia.

Hamlin-trained teams will work with local health bureaus and other stakeholders to visit every household in targeted areas, to find women living with obstetric fistula and advanced pelvic organ prolapse and organise care and treatment. This will be alongside strengthening maternal healthcare services to reduce the incidence of birth injuries. Over the past year, we have completed a pilot in one woreda, and looking ahead we will now deliver further pilots in three Woredas – Dihesa, Fedis and Bati, to test and refine the programme.

I also want to join our sister Hamlin charities around the world in recognising the dedication and commitment of our team of health professionals at Mekele Regional Fistula Hospital in Tigray region. Following the end of a bitter civil war in Tigray in northern Ethiopia at the end of 2022, over recent months we have been able to support our team at Mekele Fistula Hospital to gradually resume services. The hospital, which faces a huge backlog of patients, is bringing hope and healing to the heart of northern Ethiopia.

A Heartfelt Thank You

As we bid farewell to 2023, we anticipate the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Your continued support will play a crucial role in shaping the future of our organisation and the lives we touch. We have ambitious goals for the coming year and I am confident that we can make an even greater impact.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all our supporters. Your belief in our mission is the driving force behind our success. Together, we are making strides towards a world where no woman suffers from the devastating effects of avoidable childbirth injuries including obstetric fistula.

Wishing you a happy holiday season.

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