Darina Byrne, a Pillar of Hamlin

Our efforts would not be possible without the support of our amazing donors. We want to shine a light on one of these dedicated donors, Darina Byrne, a Pillar of Hamlin with tremendous passion for our work. Darina just returned from a trip to Ethiopia to visit several hospitals and health clinics. Listen to this audio interview with Darina after her trip.

Originally from Ireland, Darina is a chemist who moved to California with her former employer Johnson & Johnson. Darina worked at the company for 22 years working in quality systems and operations. Now she runs her own US healthcare quality assurance consulting firm in the Bay Area.

A close friend introduced Darina to the work of Hamlin Fistula in 2013. She was shocked that women still suffer from these types of preventable childbirth injuries in Ethiopia, when they are nearly non-existent in the US. Darina has two college-age sons, and she remembered having top-quality care during their births, and being able to make critical choices about her time in labor. The fact that some women do not have these choices troubled her greatly.

She is also touched by the depth of care Hamlin provides:

“Hamlin Fistula’s work resonated with me because it’s not just about physically repairing the women. Hamlin provides holistic care to improve their quality of life, bringing back their dignity and enabling them to return to their community.”

Darina is part of the Hamlin Fistula Pillar community. When she was employed at Johnson & Johnson, the company generously matched her donations 2:1. Darina encourages other donors to grow their impact through matching gifts.

After seeing firsthand the care to the women at the Addis Ababa Hospital, where some of the more complicated cases from the regions are brought, she understands the impact that this work has on each person’s life.

She was also very inspired by her visit to the Mekelle regional hospital. She met with four women who were back at the hospital to have C-section deliveries after their fistula repair surgeries. It’s an amazing testament to the quality of Hamlin’s work, that survivors are able to conceive and give birth after a fistula repair.

The government health clinics  she visited were in very remote locations where highly skilled Hamlin midwives help local women with deliveries and family planning. Though some clinics function without running water or even power, Hamlin midwives have managed to reduce the number of fistulas in these areas to nearly zero. Darina believes Hamlin’s biggest challenge is reaching women in very remote regions who are suffering with childbirth injuries, or are at grave risk due to lack of maternal health care. She supports the critical expansion of Hamlin’s midwives to ensure that all mothers have a chance at safe births.

Darina continually shares Hamlin Fistula’s mission and work. She says it’s as easy as sitting down to dinner with friends and explaining how fistula happens and its devastating impact on women. “People know childbirth injuries are preventable and curable – your small donation can make a huge difference in the lives of women and girls. You can choose between spending your money on a pair of shoes or that impact.”

Thank you to Darina and to our Pillar community. Together with all of our extraordinary donors, we work towards a future where all women’s bodies are healed and their lives restored. Donate now to help make childbirth injuries a thing of the past.