A Feminist a Day: Dr Catherine Hamlin

Who is she?

hamlinDr Catherine Hamlin is an Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist who, with her husband, founded the world’s only free hospital providing fistula repair surgery for women, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The “Hospital by the River” has treated some 35,000 women. Fistula is a terrible childbirth injury – women and girls who suffer it are left for dead by their village and family.

Catherine has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (why she has never won one is beyond me) and has been hailed as a modern Mother Teresa.

Why should we thank her?

Catherine (and her late husband Reg) have saved thousands of women’s lives. Their hospital is now a healthcare network of six hospitals and 550 staff, training medical professionals from around the world. Often many of the women treated for fistula have been trained as midwives for their communities, to educate and help women with safe childbirth practices.

Her book, The Hospital by the River, is one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever read.

Best quote

“I believe midwifery is the answer – to put a well-trained midwife in every village would eradicate obstetric fistula.”

*The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital relies on donations to survive. Find out more here. And here’s a great profile of Catherine.

A Feminist a Day: Dr Catherine Hamlin

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