Hamlin Midwives in remote Ethiopia are critical in reducing maternal mortality rates

Midwife checking on a pregnant woman

The clinic where Hamlin midwife Etenesh (below) works, in Northern Ethiopia, is in a flood affected area. During the rainy season, she walks through thick mud to help mothers in labour.

When the clinic road becomes too damaged for ambulance access, any complications must be managed by Etenesh herself.

But these challenges do not sway Etenesh.

“Because of the quality training we received at the Hamlin College of Midwives we handle complications with confidence.” – Etenesh

The Hamlin College of Midwives, part of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, was established in 2007 by Australian Dr Catherine Hamlin, to increase access to quality healthcare across Ethiopia.

In rural and remote areas of Ethiopia there are high mother and child mortality rates, due to the inaccessible terrain and lack of medical facilities. Hamlin Midwives in these remote areas are key in preventing devastating childbirth injuries.

Areas see a dramatic drop in obstetric fistula incidence

Each student at the Hamlin College of Midwives undertakes a four year Bachelor of Science degree in Midwifery and is deployed to work in Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics in remote rural areas of Ethiopia. Upon deployment, incidence of obstetric fistula in these areas drops to almost zero and the risk of stillbirth is dramatically lowered.

According to Nigeria Health Watch, ‘Ethiopia’s maternal mortality rate currently stands at 401 for every 100,000 live births’, a reduction from 676 in 2011.

They report this decline ‘can, in part, be attributed to the innovative programmes designed to expand and accelerate midwifery training… especially in rural areas.’’

Tizita is the port of call for pregnant women in her community

Tizita (below), who trained at the College, is the only professional midwife in her community and is often called to manage life-threatening childbirth complications.

“I remember a mother who came to me late at night for delivery and started bleeding. She needed to be referred to hospital immediately, but there was no ambulance available” says Tizita.

“I implemented all the necessary steps needed and saved her life.” – Tizita

Close to 20,000 pregnant women received antenatal care

As midwife and President of the Australian College of Midwives, Professor Joanne Gray, says “The Hamlin College of Midwives is one of the key steps towards obstetric fistula prevention and saving lives in Ethiopia.”

In the last FY, Hamlin Midwives ensured almost 20,000 pregnant women could access their first antenatal check.

The Hamlin College of Midwives has, so far, trained and deployed 218 midwives.

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