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Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has, for over 60 years, been dedicated to the treatment and prevention of obstetric fistula. Hamlin is the reference organisation and leader in the fight to eradicate obstetric fistula.

The organisation comprises six fistula hospitals including the world famous Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, the Hamlin Rehabilitation and Reintegration Center (Desta Mender), the Hamlin College of Midwives and over 50 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics in rural Ethiopia. Patients at all Hamlin facilities are treated free of charge and students at the Hamlin College of Midwives study free of charge.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s governance and team is 100% Ethiopian with over 550 professionals working across the organisation to deliver the Hamlin Model of Care for women with fistula.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia Board & CEO

Dr Catherine Hamlin AC - Founder

Dr Catherine Hamlin was an Australian obstetrician-gynecologist who went to Ethiopia over 63 years ago to train midwives with her husband Dr Reg Hamlin. Their attention soon turned to the plight of the obstetric fistula patients. Together, the Hamlins perfected the modern technique for obstetric fistula surgery and set up a network of hospitals in Ethiopia to help these women. So far, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has helped more than 60,000 women.

Dr Catherine Hamlin passed away in March 2020, at age 96. She was a Companion of the Order of Australia and was twice-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr Mengistu Asnake - Chair, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Dr Mengistu has a medical degree from Gondar College of Medical Sciences. He is a Public Health specialist with more than 28 years of experience in reproductive health, primary health care, child survival, community health services, program management and clinical service delivery. Mengistu currently serves as the country director Pathfinder International in Ethiopia. Pathfinder is one of the largest maternal health NGOs in the world and their program in Ethiopia is extensive. Mengistu was appointed to the Board in 2015.

Dr Yigeremu Abebe Asemere - Deputy Chair & Director, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Dr Yigeremu is a physician with postgraduate qualifications in internal medicine from the Addis Ababa University. He is Country Dr Yigeremu has a medical degree and a postgraduate diploma in internal medicine from the Addis Ababa University. He worked as a general practitioner whilst completing his postgraduate diploma. Since 2006 he has been the Country Director in Ethiopia for the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) leading a large program combat HIV/AIDS and other preventable and treatable diseases in Ethiopia. Yigeremu was appointed to the Board in 2015.

Ms Wuleta Betemariam - Director, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia

Ms Wuleta Betemariam holds a Masters Degree in Public Health and Public Policy from the University of Michigan and has 20 years of experience in providing strategic leadership for public health programs globally and is currently the Project Director of the Last Ten Kilometers Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Formerly Ms Betemariam has worked for EngenderHealth globally and established their presence in Ethiopia and well as the Sudan and was country director for both.  She has also had extensive experience as technical advisor to USAID’s Population, Health and Nutrition Office. Wuleta was appointed to the Board in 2015.

Dr Kebede Worku - Director, Hamlin FIstula Ethiopia

Dr Kebede Worku has a medical degree from Addis Ababa University and a strong background in Public Health programmatic and Dr Kebede Worku has a medical degree from Addis Ababa University and a strong background in Public Health programmatic and operational leadership. He is Senior Advisor to the Ethiopian Minister of Health. He was previously the State Minister for Health for Ethiopia and has served as Chair of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria; Chairperson of Tikur Anbessa Hospital (Black Lion Hospital), Chairperson of Ethiopia’s national Nutrition Coordination Body and he oversaw development and execution of Ethiopia’s national HIV prevention and control program. Dr Kebede was appointed to the Board in 2021.

Dr Mahlet Yigeramu Gebremariam - Director, Hamlin FIstula Ethiopia

Dr Mahlet Yigeremu Gebremariam is Consultant Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University. She was previously Dean of School of Medicine Addis Ababa University and CEO of Tikur Anbessa Hospital (Black Lion Hospital). She is a dedicated advocate and researcher for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Dr Mahlet was appointed to the Board in 2021.

Ato Jemal Kassaw - Director, Hamlin FIstula Ethiopia

Ato Jemal Kassaw is Ethiopia Country Representative, EngenderHealth and has worked with the organisation for 16 years. He was previously HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator and Health and Nutrition Advisory to Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief and he has Ato Jemal Kassaw is Ethiopia Country Representative, EngenderHealth and has worked with the organisation for 16 years. He was previously HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator and Health and Nutrition Advisory to Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief and he has served as Chair of the Board for the Consortium of Reproductive Health Associations (CORHA) and on the boards and advisory councils of a number of public health associations and advocates for gender equity and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Jemal was appointed to the Board in 2021.

Ato Tesfaye Mamo, Chief Executive Officer

Ato Tesfaye brings over 20 years of experience in government and non-government organisations to his role. He has a Masters degree in Transformational Leadership & Change from the University of Greenwich, England and previously served as Managing Director of Tikur Anbessa Hospital (Black Lion Hospital). Tesfaye leads Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s operational and programmatic deliveries with the Senior Management Team. He commenced as Deputy CEO in 2018 and CEO in 2019. Tesfaye has a strong vision for the future of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.

Dr Yeshineh Demrew Yigezu, Medical Director

Dr Yeshineh oversees clinical operations at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and five regional fistula hospitals across Ethiopia. He is also a FIGO (The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) certified trainer in Fistula Surgery. He began his career as a general practitioner in 1987 after graduating from the Gondar College of Medical Science. In 1997 he qualified as a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Addis Ababa University and in 2019 he completed a senior fellowship in Urogynecology at Mekele University. Over the last 23 years he has become one of Ethiopia’s most respected Obstetrician-Gynecologists. He spent 17 years working in hospitals in the Oromia region of Ethiopia including three years at Hamlin’s Regional Fistula Hospital in Metu. In 2015 he joined Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital as an expert Obstetician-Gynecologist and Fistula Surgeon.

Ms Tigist Aman - Rehabilitation and Reintegration Manager, Desta Mender

Tigist has a BA in Educational Planning and Management; MA in Educational Leadership and Management and 22 years experience working in the humanitarian sector. She has been with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia since 2009 as adult & non-formal education facilitator & learning coordinator. In her role as Rehabilitation and Reintegration Manager, she has been empowering patients to help them enhance their self-esteem, contribute in their communities and be self-sufficient to beat-up poverty.

Ato Zelalem Belete - Dean of Hamlin College of Midwives & Prevention Manager

Ato Zelalem has a Bachelor of Nursing and a Masters in International Community Medicine. He joined Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia in December 2012 and is responsible for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s prevention strategy. He is a passionate advocate for both current students and graduates, ensuring that all Hamlin midwives have the support they need to undertake their important work. Ato Zelalem also leads Hamlin’s Patient Identification Program. This program commenced in 2020 and is working to locate women suffering with untreated fistula injuries across remote areas of Ethiopia and connect them with life-changing treatment. 

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All rights reserved 2020 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 and images have been changed to protect the identities of those we help.