Dear Friends,

 

First let me wish you a wonderful and peaceful New Year, and thank you for your support and generosity over past years.  We are indeed all very grateful.

 

Last year was a good one, and we have much to be thankful for.  Our work at the main hospital in Addis Ababa continues, our beds are always full, and our staff are working with enthusiasm. Every day we see cured patients going home, and compassionately tend to those who need further care and surgery. We now have a ward opened for mothers who have returned for a safe delivery after their fistulas have been repaired.  All are admitted free of cost and have a Caesarian section when labor starts. It is a very happy ward! 

Photo by Joni Kabana

Our Midwifery College is doing good work with its able tutors and our excellent Dean. Many graduated midwives are doing work of the highest standard in their rural home areas.  Our midwives are kindly allowed to work in anti-natal clinics operated within Government Health Centers.  Our last Minister of Health built many of these centers throughout the countryside.  They are spacious, and we are given three rooms for our clinics, which is enormously helpful.  All mothers are treated free of cost so patients are increasing in numbers, and many of our clinics are very busy.  So far, we have midwives working in 27 of these clinics, and their reputation for good care has made them popular. Every year, another 20-30 Hamlin midwives are sent to these clinics in pairs.

 

Our Minister of Health is behind all our work and he is confident that we will be able to eradicate fistula.  He predicts a far earlier date than I do!  There are still too many pregnant mothers delivering babies in their isolated homes, where there is no help for an obstructed labor.  We have a great shortage of doctors as so may have left Ethiopia and are in other countries.  This is a tragedy for us and our mothers!

Photo by Joni Kabana

However, I am encouraged by the many wonderful and dedicated people with whom we work.  They are all so keen and working very hard to make positive change possible.  We are cooperating with the Ministry of Health in their efforts, and every year we train more doctors to repair fistula.


 
The long-term solution to this terrible injury is that all pregnant women should be able to access the care that they need. This will take a tremendous amount of work from many different people and groups in Ethiopia. Our Hamlin midwives are doing what they can to provide this care, especially in far-flung rural areas where there are no medical resources for expectant mothers. It is our great hope that we will soon see fewer fistula patients arriving at our hospitals and a drop in our tragically high maternal death rates.

 

Last year I had my 90th birthday and was excited to receive many donations for our work. I had a great party at the hospital and was overwhelmed by such love and kindness! As I turn 91 years old this weekend, I am awed by the challenges we face but inspired by the generosity of our supporters around the world - people like you - who make our work possible. Fistula is preventable and should not occur in Ethiopia or anywhere else in the world.

Photo by Joni Kabana

May you all be encouraged to help us in this work of healing and prevention for Ethiopian mothers and their families. 

 

I am very grateful for your support and send you my love!

 

Catherine         

 

Donate today to Hamlin Fistula USA in honor of Dr. Hamlin's 91st birthday. We work to restore dignity and nurture change for women suffering from childbirth injuries in Ethiopia. See if your employer will match your gift to help even more mothers.

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Hamlin Fistula USA
PO Box 460312
St. Louis, MO 63146