Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia was honoured to welcome Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and First Lady Zinash Tayachew to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital this week, as guests of honour at the hospital’s 60th anniversary celebration.
Prime Minister Abiy recognised our founder Dr Catherine Hamlin’s lifetime of dedication to the women of Ethiopia and inaugurated a statue in honour of Catherine and her late husband, Dr Reg Hamlin, in the hospital grounds.
When Catherine and Reg arrived in Ethiopia in 1959, they intended to stay for three years. At the end of their initial posting however, they decided to remain in Ethiopia and continue treating those who needed them most, the thousands of women suffering from obstetric fistula.
It is because of Catherine, Reg and Hamlin Ethiopia’s dedicated team of over 500 staff across Ethiopia, that today we have treated over 60,000 women.
Honouring a Remarkable Woman
Attending the ceremony were patients, student midwives, hospital staff and many Hamlin Fistula supporters. As the guest of honour, the Ethiopian Prime Minister gave a speech recognising Catherine’s great impact on Ethiopia and presented her with a prestigious citizenship award on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia. She is one of three people to ever receive this accolade.
During the ceremony, Catherine said a few words about her life in Ethiopia:
“I feel so much love here in this compound today. Thank you all for being with me all these years. I love you all, I love Ethiopia and I have loved every day here’’.
Prime Minister Abiy commended Catherine and the hospital team for their tremendous work in restoring the dignity of Ethiopian women affected by obstetric fistula. At the end of the event, he and the First Lady planted seedlings in the compound of the hospital.