Hamlins Symbols of Dedication, Devotion to Humanity: Health Professionals

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Addis Ababa May 30/2019 Dr Catherine and her late husband, Reginald Hamlin came to Ethiopia in 1959, just to return to their country after three years when they finish their contract with the government of Ethiopia.

The couple, both senior medical officers at the time at the Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney, accepted a three-year contract with the Ethiopian Government to work as obstetrician-gynecologists and set up a midwifery school in Addis Ababa.

Upon their arrival in Ethiopia, the fistula patients broke the hearts of the couple as they had never seen such obstetric fistula case before.

Initially working at the Princess Tsehai Memorial Hospital currently known as the Armed Forces General Hospital in Addis Ababa, Catherine and Reginald refined the surgical technique to close obstetric fistula injuries.

After treating fistula patients at the hospital for more than a decade at the hospital, the Hamlins, in 1974, founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital that dedicated exclusively to obstetric fistula repair. It is till treating fistula patients from across the country.

Since their arrivals in Ethiopia, the couples has treated more than 60,000 patients in the last 60 years, changing the lives of the women, who suffer from stigma in addition to the physical pain.

The Hamlins are a symbol of dedication, said Dr. Yeshineh Demrew a Gynecologist and Fistula Surgery Specialist recalling the ups and downs that the couple has gone though in their efforts to discharge their professional responsibilities.

“Huge sacrifice was made by Catherine’s family to reach today’s level of treating fistula patients as it was not as such easy to begin of treating fistula in the country 60 years ago,” he said.

Dr. Yeshineh, who is also Interim Medical Director of the Addis Ababa Hamlin Fistula Hospital, noted that their dedication have to be taken as a lesson by fellows Ethiopian doctors in serving the people.

Wude Fentahun, a matron working at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital for about 14 years, always impressed by the dedication, commitment and humanity of the Hamlins.

“We the staff members learn dedication, commitment and devotion to our country and people practically,” she added.

She stated that many have to learn from the Hamlin family, as any profession could be meaningful when it brings change to the community as the Hamlins did for Ethiopian women.

In the yesterday’s commemoration of 60 years anniversary of their arrival to Ethiopia, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia inaugurated a statue in honor of their contribution and the government of Ethiopia awarded certificate of recognition as well.

In recognition and honor of the 60 years dedicated service, the Ethiopian government has erected a statue for the Hamlins.