Catherine Hamlin: The Abbis Abba Fistula Hospital
Since 1974, the Abbis Abba Fistula Hospital has become a global centre of expertise in fistula repair and also trains surgeons. In addition to the main hospital in the capital, there are now, in 2009, five regional hospital centres in other Ethiopian cities to make the treatment more widely accessible. Their doctors treat 2,750 women per year - about 29 % of new fistulas in Ethiopia - and have treated over 32,000 women in total. They have also built Desta Mender, Village of Joy, a rehabilitation center for women so badly injured that they need long-term care.
Hamlin also focuses on the important area of fistula prevention with the establishment of the Hamlin Midwifery College in Addis Ababa. The midwives will be placed in rural health clinics around the country in order to prevent obstetric fistula in the first place, to raise the quality of care in childbirth generally and to lower the high maternal death rate.
The hospital and associated activities have about 400 staff and cost more than EUR 1 million per year to run. Catherine Hamlin, while still also operating on patients, spends a lot of time travelling the world to raise awareness about the condition and its disastrous effects on the lives of its victims, and to fundraise for her clinics and midwifery school. Funds come from eight international partner organisations (that in Sweden has 70,000 members) and major charities. The Australian Government is also a key supporter.