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We exist to ensure that every woman who has experienced devastating childbirth injuries is treated with dignity and with a holistic care plan.

Upon arrival at a Hamlin hospital, patients are embraced with compassion. 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. 

At Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, the treatment for women suffering with an obstetric fistula is focused on not just repairing the injury but restoring dignity. All patients leave Hamlin with a surgical solution to prevent heavy incontinence. Patients coming to Hamlin receive a customised program that includes nutrition, physiotherapy, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation.

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.

A pioneering and globally renowned surgical technique

Dr Catherine and Reg Hamlin’s pioneering surgical techniques have been recognised globally 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. 

Hamlin’s impact extends beyond Ethiopia’s borders, with surgeons from numerous developing nations visiting and training at the hospital. Pioneering new surgical interventions are being developed through Hamlin’s Urogynaecology Fellowship, which provides surgeons with advanced, specialised skills to treat complex, urogynaecology conditions to restore continence, achieve safe diversion, preserve renal function and improve quality of life.

The life changing surgery restores their health and their dignity.

Oprah Winfrey

Our hospitals

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. 

Dr Catherine Hamlin with fistula patient

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. 

Each regional fistula hospital works with a network of clinics where Hamlin midwives are deployed.

Map of Hamlin Regional Hospitals
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s hospitals are located across the country

Help us give hope to every woman.

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Hamlin Fistula NZ is committed to providing ongoing support for fistula surgery and for the preventive work of the midwives. The hospital in Addis Ababa has become a centre of excellence to which doctors from other countries come to learn and master the specialist skills of fistula surgery.

Photography credits to Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Joli Wescombe, Natasha Meyer and Martha Tadesse.