PM Meles Vests Honorary Citizenship on Dr. Catherine Hamlin
Addis Ababa, April 27, 2012 (WIC) - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi vested an honorary citizenship of Ethiopia on Founder and Owner of the Fistula Hospital, Dr Catherine Hamlin in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian services she provided to fistula patients.
Prime Minister Meles vested the honorary citizenship at a ceremony held here on Thursday at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Meles said Dr. Hamlin was awarded the citizenship for serving the fistula patients for more than five decades by establishing a fistula hospital in the country.Meles gave Ethiopian passport and certificate of honorary citizenship during the ceremony.
He said Dr. Hamlin has been able to rescue thousands of fistula patients which is very much commendable.
Speaking on his part, Health Minister Dr. Tewdrso Adhanom said Dr. Hamlin has served Ethiopians for more than 53 years which he said shows her love to Ethiopia.
Speaking on her part, Dr. Hamlin said "Although I was not born in Ethiopia, I love the country very much."
She said she was very happy to be given the honorary citizenship in recognition of her humanitarian services.
Dr Catherine Hamlin, née Nicholson, was born in Sydney Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney in 1946. She met and married Dr Reginald Hamlin, a New Zealander, when they were both Senior Medical Administrators at Crown Street Women's Hospital, Sydney.
In 1958 they answered an advertisement in the Lancet Medical Journal for an obstetrician and gynaecologist to establish a Midwifery School at the Princess Tsehay Hospital in Addis Ababa. They arrived in Addis Ababa in 1959 on a three year contract with the Ethiopian Government.
They began working in the hospital and training midwives. However, after a short while the Ethiopian Government advised the Hamlins that it would not be able to afford to pay the higher salaries of the trained midwives. Only about 10 midwives had been trained before the the Government closed the midwifery school.
Finally, in 1974 during the Communist Revolution which overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie, the Hamlins opened the doors of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. It remains the only hospital in the world dedicated exclusively to fistula repair.
More than 35,000 women suffering from obstetric fistula were treated and cured so far.
The Hamlin College of Midwives took its first batch of students at the end of 2007.
Meanwhile, the commercial Bank of Ethiopia donated 500,000 Birr for the Hamline Fistula Hospital here on Thursday on the occasion organized to celebrate the citizenship presentation at Desta Mender, a village farm built by the Hospital.
According to ENA, Desta Mender is a village where women who have suffered injuries which require long term medical care can live and learn life skills such as literacy, numeracy, agriculture, horticulture and dairying was opened in 2003.
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