In a letter to the Canberra Times on 30 April 2020 the Reverend Robert Willson of Deakin, in a piece entitled ‘A life well lived’, noted while that the present pandemic had rightly dominated the news, the death of Dr Catherine Hamlin should not go unnoticed
Catherine was born in Sydney in 1924 and in 1958 she and her husband Dr Reg Hamlin went to Ethiopia to set up a school of midwifery in Addis Ababa. More than 60,000 Ethiopian women suffering with obstetric fistulas have received surgery at the Hamlin Fistula Hospitals
Over several decades the Australian government and AUSAID supported the Fistula Hospital ( see for example https://www.sydney.edu.au/medicine-health/news-and-events/2020/04/14/commemorating-humanitarian-catherine-hamlin-.html )
Here are extracts from the Official Obituary from Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation (see https://hamlin.org.au/obituary/ )
‘The world is mourning the death of Australia’s most renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, who died, age 96 at her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday March 18th, 2020.
‘Catherine, together with her late husband Dr Reginald Hamlin OBE, co-founded Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, a healthcare network treating women who suffer from the debilitating effects of an obstetric fistula – a horrific childbirth injury.’
Her husband Reg died in 1993.
‘She was much-admired for her work in Australia and globally. She was twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, has been recognised by the United Nations as a pioneer in fistula surgery, in 1995 Catherine was awarded Australia’s highest honour – the Companion of the Order of Australia, in 2018 she was named NSW Senior Australian of the Year. In 2012, the Ethiopian Government awarded Catherine Honorary Ethiopian Citizenship and in 2019 the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presented her with Eminent Citizen Award in recognition of her lifetime of service to the women of Ethiopia.’
In 2020 Catherine celebrated her 61st year in Ethiopia, having lived most of her life there.