The Hamlin Fistula USA’s (HFUSA) mission is to raise funds for the activities for the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, regional hospitals, and the Hamlin College of Midwives and to raise awareness of the issue of obstetric fistula. HFUSA also provides consultation on medical capabilities and awareness among the USA medical community.
Drs. Reginald and Catherine Hamlin found that fistula patients were difficult to treat in a general hospital. They were not seen as emergency cases; insufficient time was allocated in the operating theater; the women wet the beds and the other patients despised them. They therefore proposed the founding of an independent hospital in which all patients would be treated free of charge.
The Emperor, Haile Selassie, said that they could have the necessary land; the Ministry of Health gave permission for this unique hospital with the condition that no funding would be required from government for either the capital or running costs.
Since 1959, however, the Ministry of Health paid Dr. Reginald Hamlin a government salary until his death in 1993 and has paid Dr Catherine Hamlin a salary to the present day. In addition to this they pay several of our doctors government salaries and have provided duty free privileges for the hospital. Cumulatively this represents significant financial support for the hospital for which we are deeply indebted.
Donations come from around the world including the USA.
The Hamlins became “professional beggars”, traveling the world to explain the plight of women with obstetric fistulae. They touched many hearts. World Vision and Ethiopiad have, between the two of them, provided the bulk of the running costs of the hospital for many years. We are extremely grateful to them.
In addition, individuals and groups started fund-raising for the hospital and later founded dedicated fund-raising trusts which enable tax-efficient giving. There are now eight of these.
The UK trust was founded first and became the main source of funding for the hospital’s medical and indeed other supplies. They have committed to fund the running costs of the Yirgalem mini-hospital.
The Swedish Trust has funded doctors “top-up” salaries, has sponsored patients and funded other projects.
The Australian Trust has been instrumental in providing funds for the refurbishment of the hospital, the development of Desta Mender, the building of the annex to the hospital and also, recently, the building and running costs of the Mekelle mini-hospital.
In the USA The Fistula Foundation received wonderful publicity through the newspaper articles of Nicholas Kristof and Dr. Hamlin’s appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002. Fistula Foundation provided funds to build, equip and run the Harer mini-hospital. After 2008 Fistula Foundation expanded its mission to support other nations and other organizations. Since 2009 contributions to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia from Fistula Foundation are limited to funds that they raised in the name of Hamlin Fistula.
Hamlin Fistula USA (HFUSA) was launched in 2011 and is now based in St. Louis MO. HFUSA is dedicated to support the work of Hamlin Fistula in Ethiopia.
There are also trusts in Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and New Zealand.
The international partner trusts each have their own boards which monitor funds and investments to the best advantage and in the absolute interests of the work here in Ethiopia. We also have a foreign savings account in Europe where donations can gain hard currency interest instead of keeping all donated funds in Ethiopia’s more esoteric currency.
We remain dependent upon our donors and Partner Trusts, such as Hamlin Fistula USA, for the funding of our running costs and future projects. Any designated donation goes directly to the specified project; undesignated donations go first towards our running costs.
The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital only exists through the generous gifts of our donors and visitors.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and the women we treat are extremely grateful for all donations large and small, be they from individuals and groups through our trusts, or from larger organizations. To make a donation visit our Donation page. Thank you!