Local News at Your Fingertips

Australian Doctor changes 40,000 lives in Ethiopia


Blue willow ready for service

Blue willow ready for high tea

On a sunny Sunday in November 2014 over 50 women enjoyed an afternoon of fun and fine food thanks to a High Tea coordinated by Soroptimist International Mount Gambier to support the Hamlin Fistula Foundation.
Pregnant women in rural Ethiopia have little or no access to emergency obstetric services. If they are among the five percent of women worldwide who will face obstructed labour, they will be in agonising labour for days and days.

They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage – sometimes the bladder is completely destroyed, sometimes the rectum is also damaged. They leak constantly and are pushed to the edge of their society, too filthy to be part of village life and considered a curse.

“I would rather have my arm cut off than live with this condition.” Yenenesh, aged 17.

But there is hope. In the Ethiopian capital, there is a hospital especially for these, the most heartbreaking of patients. The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and its five regional hospitals treat obstetric fistula patients free of charge, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Australian obstetrician-gynaecologist 
Dr Catherine Hamlin AC is the co-founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and the Hamlin College of Midwives. In the 1950s Catherine and her late husband Reg went to Ethiopia to train midwives, but their attention soon turned to the plight of the fistula sufferers.

Together the Hamlins perfected the modern technique for obstetric fistula surgery and
 have treated more than 40,000 women, more than 90% of them cured. Reg died in 1993 but Catherine continues their life’s work.

“My dream is to eradicate obstetric fistula
from Ethiopia. I won’t achieve this in my
lifetime, but you might in yours.”
Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Your donation will have an immediate and life changing impact through:

  • Treatment of obstetric fistula for women and girls at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and five Hamlin Fistula Regional Centres.
  • Prevention of obstetric fistula with the education of midwives at the Hamlin College of Midwives who are then deployed back into the provinces.
  • Education and awareness to eradicate Ethiopia of obstetric fistula and ensure the plight of these women and girls along with the dedication and commitment of Dr Catherin Hamlin continues to be funded.

Soroptimist International is committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong and healthy communities worldwide.

“Change the world one cupcake at a time was our theme for the day,” said Margie Russon, President Elect of Soroptimist International Mount Gambier.
“Obstetric Fistula sufferers have catastrophic childbirth injuries which leave them incontinent and in utter misery so our members thought it a great cause to support,” continues Margie.
Over $1400 was raised on the day and guests were entertained by the Mayfair Singers.
Please visit http://www.hamlin.org.au to find out how you can support this worthwhile foundation,” concludes Margie.


Allan and Bronwyn Kuhl won a raffle on the day

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