Dr Catherine Hamlin AC - In Memoriam

Pioneering surgeon

2018 NSW Senior Australian of the Year

For more than 50 years, obstetrician Dr Catherine Hamlin devoted herself to giving women in Africa a second chance at life. A surgical pioneer, Catherine and her late husband Dr Reginald Hamlin founded a network of six hospitals and a midwifery college in Ethiopia. The hospitals provide free fistula repair surgery to poor women suffering from horrendous and preventable childbirth injuries. The midwifery college trains midwives to prevent the injuries. When Catherine arrived in Ethiopia in 1959, there were almost no resources for expectant mothers. Since then she and her team treated more than 50,000 women, restoring their health and dignity. Catherine‚Äôs organisation is a global centre of expertise in fistula repair and trains surgeons from around the world. Through her foundation, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, Catherine tackled a new fistula frontier, Uganda. Catherine remained active in her day-to-day work at the hospital until her passing in 2020, healing women through surgery, rehabilitation and counselling, so they could be whole again.