We exist to ensure the health and dignity of women who have survived the devastating and preventable childbirth injury obstetric fistula and change the lives of women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse.
Each year, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia provides over 2,000 surgeries for women, free of charge. Hamlin takes a total care approach: One that seeks to repair, mend and heal all the scars – emotional and physical that come with these heart-breaking injuries.
Obstetric fistula can mostly be repaired with a single life-changing fistula treatment surgery. For some, this can take no more than two hours.
Upon arrival at a Hamlin hospital, patients are embraced with tender and loving care. They are given nutritious food, a handmade blanket and the empathy of staff – several of whom are cured fistula patients themselves. For many patients, this may have been one of the first instances of emotional and physical support since their injury. In some cases women have lived with the condition, untreated for more than 40 years.
Patients receive a customised treatment programme that includes nutrition, physiotherapy, counselling and rehabilitation. It is not just about repairing the injury, but restoring dignity.
Click here to read the stories of some of our brave patients.
To date, over 60,000 women have been treated by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia to repair the internal damage from obstetric fistula and had their dignity restored.
Each year, we also provide over 650 surgeries for pelvic organ prolapse, a gynaecological problem that can have a huge impact on a woman’s quality of life.
While our ultimate goal is to end fistula in Ethiopia, forever, pelvic organ prolapse remains a significant problem for women in Ethiopia and is likely to become more so as women live longer. We are committed to growing the number of women we provide treatment to, so no woman has to suffer the burden of prolapse.
A pioneering and globally renowned surgical technique
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is globally renowned for its treatment technique for fistula. Dr Catherine Hamlin’s pioneering surgical techniques have been recognised by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Global Health Council for Best Practices in Global Health, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Australian Medical Association. Dr. Catherine Hamlin herself received the Distinguished Surgeon Award from the Society of Gynaecologic Surgeons in the USA.
Surgeons from around the globe have visited and trained at the hospital to train with us.
The life changing surgery restores their health and their dignity.Oprah Winfrey
Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s six hospitals are fully staffed by over 550 Ethiopians who continue Catherine’s dream of transforming women’s care throughout Ethiopia. We work closely with the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia on a common commitment to eradicate fistula in Ethiopia.
The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital
Catherine and Reg Hamlin opened the now world-renowned Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in 1974. As Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s headquarters hospital, it has three wards, a large operating theatre accommodating four surgical teams, specialist clinics including a physiotherapy department, urodynamic and stoma clinic, pharmacy and pathology services. The hospital has a 120-bed capacity, but at times the number of beds might increase to accommodate need.
Hamlin Fistula Regional Hospitals
Due to a lack of transportation infrastructure and difficult geography, many patients in need cannot access the capital city for treatment at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. For some patients, even the cost of a bus fare to Addis Ababa is just not possible.
For this reason, in 2003, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia began an ambitious plan to build five regional Hamlin Fistula Hospitals to enable thousands of patients to be treated in provinces where health services are limited.
Hamlin Fistula Regional Hospitals operate in five sites within the grounds of government general hospitals; Mekele and Bahir Dar in the north, Yirgalem in the south, Harar in the east and Metu in the southwest.
Each regional fistula hospital works with a network of clinics where Hamlin midwives are deployed.