History

Hamlin Fistula USA supports the work begun by pioneering doctors Reginald and Catherine Hamlin.  Watch the video to hear their history in Dr. Catherine Hamlin’s words.

 

Doctors Reg and Catherine Hamlin in the early days at the Princess Tsehay Hospital

Doctors Reg and Catherine Hamlin in the early days at the Princess Tsehay HospitalThe Hamlins, both obstetrician/gynecologists, went to Ethiopia in 1959 to establish  a midwifery school. But upon their arrival, a fellow gynecologist confided, “the fistula patients will break your heart.” Before this, they had seen obstetric fistulas only in textbooks, but in Ethiopia, these cases were everywhere.

The Hamlins, both obstetrician/gynecologists, went to Ethiopia in 1959 to establish  a midwifery school. But upon their arrival, a fellow gynecologist confided, “the fistula patients will break your heart.” Before this, they had seen obstetric fistulas only in textbooks, but in Ethiopia, these cases were everywhere.

As they began treating patients and surgically repairing their injuries, the Hamlins saw the need for a free, independent hospital. In 1974 they founded Hamlin Fistula Hospital, which has become a global center for fistula treatment, rehabilitation, training, and prevention.

The Hamlins treated thousands of women whose bodies – and spirits – were devastated by obstetric fistula, and helped them return to normal life. After Dr. Reginald Hamlin passed away in 1993, his wife has continued their work. She was honored to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 and again in 2014.

Catherine letters