For almost 50 years, through drought, famine and a murderous regime, an Australian obstetrician Dr. Catherine Hamlin has dedicated herself to giving women in Ethiopia a second chance at life.
She founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, founded 33 years ago by Hamlin and her late husband, Reg, a New Zealander and fellow obstetrician-gynaecologist, on the city’s outskirts. The hospital treats women with obstetric fistulas – devastating, childbirth-related injuries rarely seen in Western nations since the end of the 19th century. More than 30,000 women of all religions and backgrounds have been admitted to the hospital, free of charge, since it opened. It’s sad, and incredible, that more than three decades later women are still coming, exhausted and in despair, with the same appalling injuries, from countries across the Horn, as well as Ethiopia. Some walk hundreds of kilometres before finishing the journey by public bus, praying that the other passengers won’t order them off because of how they smell.
For her outstanding services, Dr Catherine Hamlin was nominated for the 2014 Nobel peace prize.