Tizita is a proud graduate of the Hamlin College of Midwives. Now in her third year as a Hamlin Midwife, her work is saving the lives of women and babies. Tizita’s degree from the Hamlin College of Midwives is helping to eradicate obstetric fistula in Ethiopia – and it was only made possible thanks to the generosity of Hamlin supporters.
A first-class education in maternal health
Nestled near the towering rock formations of the Valley of Marvels in eastern Ethiopia is Babile, Tizita’s hometown. It was in Babile where Tizita went to high school and first began to dream of becoming a midwife. After completing her secondary education and achieving high marks, Tizita was awarded a full scholarship to study midwifery at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Addis Ababa.
In the first year of her four-year Bachelor of Science in Midwifery degree, Tizita and her peers studied the foundations of midwifery and basic nursing training at Hamlin’s Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. From her second year onwards, Tizita started going on clinical placement to get invaluable first-hand experience of providing maternal health care. Her practical education was bolstered with theoretical work in newborn care, pregnancy complications, ultrasound training and advanced diagnostic skills.
Inspired to care for mothers
Dr Catherine Hamlin saw prevention as the key to eradicating fistula. That’s why, in 2007, she opened the Hamlin College of Midwives. Since then, 195 Hamlin Midwives – including Tizita – have graduated from the College and are now making a significant impact in rural communities by reducing fistulas and providing quality maternal health care.
“When I was a first-year student at the College, I incidentally met with Dr Catherine. She greeted me and my classmates warmly, asked us about our study and told us how our profession is very crucial to rural mothers and the effort to stop fistula. Ever since then, I’ve loved being a midwife and I share the commitment and love she [Catherine] had for mothers. She is my inspiration,” says Tizita.
Equipped to handle the hardest challenges
By the time that Tizita had graduated with her midwifery degree from the Hamlin College of Midwives in 2018, she had safely attended well over 100 deliveries in various clinical placements. This experience was instrumental in her transition from her studies to working full time in a rural midwifery clinic. After graduation, Tizita was deployed to a Hamlin-supported midwifery clinic in Kurfa Chele, near her hometown of Babile, where she has been working for the past three years.
In rural Ethiopia, long-held misconceptions about medical intervention and a lack of access to resources have proved significant barriers to women accessing maternal health care. Working at the Kurfa Chele Midwifery Clinic posed various challenges, but her extensive training at the Hamlin College of Midwives stood Tizita in good stead, and soon she had the trust of the local community. “We Hamlin graduates are different compared to similar professionals trained in other institutions. The high-quality training we received at the College and the exceptional clinical placements we took made us proud and confident professionals. Wherever we go, we can easily win the trust of the community and take a leading position in the community’s maternal health care. Here in our community, we are making progress in supporting pregnant women and healthy children, and are also preventing fistula – so it’s very important!” explains Tizita.
Hamlin Midwives save lives
As Tizita is the only professional midwife in her community, she is often called upon to manage life-threatening childbirth complications. In those moments, the fundamental love and respect for each patient which was the cornerstone of her education at Hamlin, comes to the fore.
“I remember a mother who came to me late at night for delivery and accidentally started bleeding, which we call postpartum haemorrhoid. She needed to be referred to a hospital immediately, otherwise she could have died. At that time, however, there was no ambulance or transport available. Then I decided to implement all the necessary steps needed and saved her life. I accompanied her to the nearby hospital on public transport to assist her. Now both her baby and she are well and healthy. Whenever she meets me, she hugs me with love and thanks me for saving her life. We have become almost like family after the delivery,” Tizita recalls.
Tizita believes that it is essential to keep training Hamlin Midwives well into the future, explaining that “It’s important because Hamlin Midwives are trained and use their skill and knowledge to support the community, preventing injuries like fistula. Starting from the training to the deployment, we are given the quality education that we need to support the community and help the mothers.”
Her job is complex but Tizita’s message to the people supporting the work of Hamlin Midwives is simple: “Thank you for supporting our training in the work against fistula!”