I became aware of the plight of these women through a book that had been leant to my mum. The book, The Hospital By The River, by Dr Catherine Hamlin (with John Little) takes the reader through 45 years of service to women in Ethiopia suffering from obstetric fistula. It is a thought provoking read as Dr Hamlin weaves her own story together with the history of the hospital and that of her adopted country, Ethiopia.
I had no idea about fistula, let alone the impact this plight has on women in African countries. It is preventable and treatable and should not be a life sentence to these women. Dr Hamlin, an Australian woman has dedicated so much of her life to helping women in Ethiopia seek treatment for their affliction, and a prevention program.
What is obstetric fistula? It is a childbirth injury that can occur as a result of long, unrelieved, obstructed labour. A hole develops between the vagina and the bladder (vesicovaginal fistula) or the vagina and the rectum (rectovaginal fistula). Women suffering with obstetric fistula are permanently incontinent of urine and/or faeces.
Day 6 of the Advent Calendar for Making a Difference is dedicated to The Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation, which raises funds for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.
The Foundation has helped over 55000 women through their network across Ethiopia.
How can you help, if you want to make a difference to these women?
Their shop has some lovely gifts to consider. I have made someone smile with a surprise delivery of a Christmas decoration sent to brighten their home for Christmas. My Hawi necklace which is made from artillery shells (from former war conflicts) that are found on the lands in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia creates a conversation when I wear it.
Why not pop into the web-store and have a browse. Or call into their shop in Turramurra if you are Sydney. There are books, jewellery, baby wraps, ornaments – such an array and all with a little story of their own. You know I love stories!
Or donate directly if you don’t need any gifts. You will make a difference. https://hamlin.org.au/
The book would make a good summertime read too x