A number of years ago I read The Hospital by the River, the story of Reg and Catherine's work in Ethiopia with fistula patients.
My mum gave me Catherine's Gift, by John Little, a follow-up to the first book, revisiting some of the patients and staff, and Catherine's continuing work now that Reg has passed away.
"Five per cent of all women in the world need some help to have a baby and it is these five per cent with no help in the countryside, that you get this fistula injuries, which cause untold sorrow," she said.
"A long labour, a still-born baby and then a hole in the birth passage between the bladder and often between the rectum as well so that all their body waste is passing down through the birth passage and they are ashamed of this injury.
"They are outcasts from their society, often deserted by their husbands and their life is one of poverty and misery."
(Dr Catherine Hamlin)
Dr Hamlin is now working on training midwives in Ethiopia, to prevent fistuals occuring in the first place.
I found this video on YouTube, following the journey of a number of young women who make their way to Addis Ababa, and the Fistula Hospital.
If you have the time to watch it is worth it - I cried many times throughout.
I cannot imagine the pain (physical and psychological) these women go through.
It is horrible enough to lose a child during childbirth, but then to have to deal with the state of the baby after days of labour, and the horrific injuries the prolonged labour causes, is beyond words.