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About Us

Our vision is simple: To eradicate obstetric fistula. Forever

Obstetric fistula is virtually a thing of the past in the US. But in rural Ethiopia, where women have little or no access to maternal healthcare, they can be in agonizing labor for days if their birth is obstructed. 

They almost always lose their baby and suffer horrific internal damage that leaves them unable to control their body waste. Often women are outcast by their family and community, condemned to a life of shame and social isolation. 

Founded by pioneering surgeon Dr Catherine Hamlin, Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is an independent charity established to raise funds and awareness for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, which provides holistic treatment and care to the thousands of women and girls suffering with devastating childbirth injuries in Ethiopia.

Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation exists to support Dr Catherine’s mission to eradicate fistula. Forever.

Restoring health and dignity

Over six decades ago, Dr Catherine Hamlin recognized the urgent need facing women in Ethiopia and established the country’s first obstetric fistula hospital in Addis Ababa.

Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is a healthcare network of over 550 Ethiopian staff servicing six hospitals, Desta Mender Rehabilitation Center, the Hamlin College of Midwives, and 90 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics. 

Dr Catherine developed new surgical techniques which have been recognized as a best practice in global health by leading organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Surgeons from around the globe visit and train at Hamlin’s hospitals to learn this acclaimed method of treatment. In addition to obstetric fistula, all six Hamlin Hospitals provide a range of gynecological treatments to women, including advanced pelvic organ prolapse surgery.

Learn more about our governance and meet the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation Board.

Making Catherine’s vision a reality

While the eradication of fistula in Ethiopia once seemed impossible, it is becoming a reality. Through Project Zero, our most ambitious program in decades, we are going from door-to-door, Woreda-by-Woreda (district) to find and treat every woman in Ethiopia living with obstetric fistula. 

The Hamlin College of Midwives is training a new generation of maternal healthcare professionals so that we can do all in our power to prevent childbirth injuries in the future.

This progress is only possible thanks to a growing movement of generous supporters who are determined to make Catherine's vision come true.

Thank you for your support.        


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All rights reserved 2023 Catherine Hamlin Foundation (R) (ABN58159647499)
Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is fiscally sponsored by KBFUS (EIN582277856) and KBF Canada (RCO769784893RR0001)

Photography credits to Cameron Bloom, Nigel Brennan, Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Johannes Remling and Martha Tadesse.

Patient names have been changed to protect the identities of those we help.