Sydney Medical School graduate is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Doctor Catherine Hamlin, an Australian gynecologist who has spent most of her life in Ethiopia, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, at 90 years of age.
Referred to as a 21st-century Mother Teresa, Dr. Hamlin has revolutionised care of a childbirth injury called obstetric fistula, which occurs when the baby gets stuck in the birth canal and there is no doctor to perform a cesarean section. As many as two million women (and often young teenage girls) worldwide suffer from fistulas. The babies die, and the woman is left incontinent and stigmatised.
Dr. Catherine Hamlin graduated in medicine at the University of Sydney Medical School in 1946. She met her late husband Dr. Reg Hamlin when they were both senior medical officers at Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney. Together, Reg and Catherine, with their 6-year-old son Richard, went to Ethiopia in 1959 to work as obstetricians and to start a midwifery school.
The couple set up a fistula hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and their work proves that it is possible to repair the injuries from fistulas cheaply. The hospital trained generations of doctors to repair fistulas and provided a safe haven where patients are treated free of charge. Dr Hamlin has continued her work, uninterrupted for more than half a century, despite political upheavals and civil war in Ethiopia. Well over 35,000 patients have been treated in that time.
At Dr Hamlin’s 90th birthday in January, former patients cheered as she blew out 90 candles on a cake. Her son, Richard, referred to the women she’s helped, saying “Catherine has one son and thirty-five thousand daughters.”
Dr. Hamlin told the crowd about the need for a big push to improve the world’s maternal care. “We have to eradicate Ethiopia of this awful thing that’s happening to women: suffering, untold suffering, in the countryside,” she said. “I leave this with you to do in the future, to carry on.”
About the University of Sydney Medical School
Sydney Medical School is a world-class, graduate-entry degree in medicine. The Doctor of Medicine includes weekly clinical experience in leading hospitals from the very first weeks, regular problem-based learning exercises in small groups, traditional lectures with expert practitioners, and ongoing opportunities to participate in research.
The Sydney Medical School is ranked 17th in the world by the QS World University Rankings.
Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales (Camperdown/Darlington campus)
Semester intake: February 2015
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: July 4, 2014