Women of Ethiopia
the Great Ethiopian Run which is an annual 10km event expected to attract 45,000 participants.
“That’s a day before we come home. And I hate running! I’d rather swim in a pool. But I’m going to try my hardest to run the lot.”
Aims of the 17-day trip are to see where and how the money the charity raises is spent, and spend some time interacting with the patients.
The biggest part of the campaign, Hayley says, is to raise the profile of obstetric fistula because if women are cured of the debilitating condition – and it can mostly be repaired with a single life-changing surgery – they can return to their homes and villages.
Patients, with an average age of 22, who arrive at a Hamlin hospital receive a customised program including nutrition, physiotherapy, counselling and rehabilitation, with the Hamlin model of care focussing on “repairing the injury and restoring dignity”.
The women who can’t be cured live in a village, Dester Mender, where they can make their own income as they are taught skills, help run a farm and can sell crafted goods such as hand-woven wraps.
While many women receive treatment, the charity is also intent on facilitating prevention. Hayley says in villages where there are trained midwives, obstetric fistula does not exist.
“With a bit of knowledge and a bit of education, prevention can be better than cure. The Hamlin College of Midwives is probably the most important thing, and that’s run by the charity as well.”
The college in Ethiopia celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and runs an intensive four-year degree to train midwives who then live in the local villages. Since 2007, 125 midwives have graduated from the college and, currently, 34 rural midwifery clinics are staffed by Hamlin midwives.
The Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) charity was started on Dr Catherine Hamlin’s request.
The Hamlins had first travelled to Ethiopia in 1959 to set up a college for midwife training, when they saw the need to help women who had suffered an obstetric fistula.
Hayley says her “natural childhood curiosity and a desire to help” have fuelled her passion as an adult to want to do something for the disadvantaged women.
“I have always loved Hamlin’s story and found it inspiring, so it only feels natural that I try and give back.
“It has always been Dr Catherine Hamlin’s dream to eradicate obstetric fistula from Ethiopia. It would be absolutely amazing to achieve that,” Hayley says.
“I don’t think any woman deserves to labour alone, to then have a dead baby and a lifelong injury that without treatment leads to a lifetime of ostracisation, lack of livelihood and increased risk of infection.”
Hayley says she also wants fundraising efforts to be able to support the Hamlin College of Midwives.
Twenty-five-year-old Hayley Piggott will travel with a group of 18 to visit the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, which opened in 1974.
Hayley Piggott is in awe of the work of Dr Catherine Hamlin, now aged 93.
Hayley Piggott will take part in the Great Ethiopian Run, an annual 10km event expected to attract 45,000 participants.