Dr. Catherine Hamlin celebrated her 93rd Birthday on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. She was joined by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia staff and invited guests. Her only son, Mr. Richard Hamlin and his wife, Mrs. Jo, were also in the attendance. During the occasion, Mr. Richard made a remarkable speech.
“Today is the day – a 93rd birthday, special for anyone but especially for Emaye and all of us here. On Dr Hamlin’s behalf, thank you for interrupting your day to be here…
…Dr Reginald Hamlin and his wife Dr Catherine arrived in Ethiopia to start work for the Ethiopian Health Ministry at the Princess Tsehai Hospital. As they gradually realized the need of patients with fistula, they knew they must stay in Ethiopia long after their contracts came to an end. They came across the many unbelievable life stories of patients that made them realize they had made the right choice to stay.
One patient was cured after suffering urinary incontinence for forty years. She had lived all that time, due to shame at her condition’s offensive smell, in a separate house near her relatives. She was twenty when obstructed labour had caused her fistula. Her wonder at how easily she had been healed at the age of sixty and the fact that she had been living only a few kilometres from Addis all that time made her tears of gratitude especially sweet to witness. When she realized she was healed and dry, she knelt on the ground and tried to kiss Emaye’s feet… but Emaye also knelt on the ground and received her gratitude and helped the lady to her feet…”
Dr. Catherine thanked all Hamlin staff and partners who have stood on her side to help the poor women and young girls of Ethiopia, and asked them to remain committed until fistula becomes a history of the past in the country.