How an illiterate girl from the mountains of Ethiopia became the ‘future of African medicine’ – as the heartwarming reason she’s returning to the operating theatre at 73 is revealed.
Mamitu Gashe was 16 when she went into labour with her first child in a mud hut in her rural village in Ethiopia.
She spent four days in excruciating pain before her baby son died inside her, leaving her with horrific injuries.
Mamitu sustained an ‘obstetric fistula’ which left her incontinent, uncontrollably leaking urine and faeces.
Fate brought her to the capital Addis Ababa where she was treated by Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin.
Barefoot and illiterate, Mamitu learned to operate on others like her by placing her hands over Dr Hamlin’s.
Now 73, she has been hailed as the ‘future of medicine in Africa’ – but she still can’t read or write.