Australian gynaecologist and humanitarian Dr Catherine Hamlin has died at age 96 in her home of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1958, Catherine and her husband, also trained in obstetrics and gynaecology, flew to Ethiopia with a plan to spend a few years working there in a government hospital. What had been intended as a three-year stay in Addis Ababa turned in to a lifetime of service to Ethiopia and the establishment of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, a network of clinics dedicated to giving free surgery to the women who need it, ensuring the health and dignity of 60,000 mothers by treating and preventing terrible childbirth injuries.
Catherine was always grateful to those who supported her dream of eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. You can read the full obituary and leave a tribute message for Catherine at the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.
Obstetric fistula is a common complication of pregnancy in many African countries, particularly in young women and girls. BPW International members worldwide have supported the work of BPW Burkina Faso and the founder President of BPW Ouagadougou, Rasmata Kabré, in establishing care for women who have experienced obstetric fistula.