Access PR

Latest News

Contact Access PR



Two proud Australian women meet — each genuinely moved by the story of the other


Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, has paid an emotional visit to fellow Australian ex-pat, Dr Catherine Hamlin and the patients at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.

The visit was part of an official three-day humanitarian visit to the country by Crown Princess Mary and the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen. She also visited a refugee camp in Gambella and the region of Afar, one of the hottest places on earth.

Princess Mary was moved by the patients of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and their stories, as well as the life-changing work of Dr Hamlin and her team of surgeons and staff.

During her visit, Princess Mary enjoyed Ethiopian tea and home-made biscuits with Dr Hamlin on the verandah of her home on the grounds of the fistula hospital.

Princess Mary said she was especially struck by the beautiful coloured blankets, donated by supporters of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia from around the world.

Dr Hamlin and her staff presented Princess Mary with necklaces and baskets made by patients (as well as cards for Princess Mary’s children) and in turn Mary gave Dr Hamlin a set of teacups and saucers from Denmark.

“We were delighted that fellow Australian Crown Princess Mary was able to take the time to visit Dr Hamlin and her amazing staff and patients to shine a light on the vital work being done at the hospital,” Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) CEO, Lucy Perry, said.

“Princess Mary was gracious and warm and very knowledgeable about the work of the hospital and its regional centres around Ethiopia. She spent time with the patients and staff –many of whom are former patients themselves – and was able to visit with a baby girl born that very day, thanks to the world-class hospital facilities,” Perry said.

The important work of Dr Hamlin in treating curing and preventing obstetric fistula is enabled by the generous support of Australians. Further information on how you can help can be found at

- ENDS –


Dr Catherine Hamlin has lived in Ethiopia for more than 55 years ago. Together with her late husband Reg, Catherine perfected the modern surgical technique for obstetric fistula and founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, its network of regional hospitals and the flagship educational institution, the Hamlin College of Midwives.

At the age of 91, Dr Hamlin continues to take an active role in the leadership of the hospital working six days a week with a staff of 500 including nine Ethiopian surgeons. Her life story is told in the best-selling book, The Hospital by the River (Pan MacMillan 2001).

Dr Hamlin is a Companion of the Order of Australia, is a two-time nominee of the Nobel Prize and is an Australian Living Legend.