International Day of the Midwife

Today is the International Day of the Midwife; for the Hamlin Team, it is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible work that Hamlin Midwives do each year. Each week, midwives at over 50 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics deliver around 600 babies and undertake more than 1400 antenatal care visits and more than 500 postnatal visits.

Skilled midwives are the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of women and infants every year – and the key to preventing women suffering debilitating childbirth injuries like obstetric fistula.

Celebrating the work of midwives

The impact of Hamlin Midwives cannot be overstated: in FY19 alone, midwives at Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics delivered 30,004 babies. They provided 47,681 women with an initial antenatal care visit. Hamlin Midwives currently work in over 50 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics across regional Ethiopia. Beyond providing essential antenatal and postnatal care to women, midwives are also pillars in their communities; they act as a culturally sensitive bridge between to rural communities, give short- and long-term family planning services, and provide information and counselling to patients.

Dr Catherine Hamlin was determined not only to treat fistula but to prevent these childbirth injuries in the first place; that’s why she opened the Hamlin College of Midwives in 2007. Since then 170 midwives have graduated from the Hamlin College of Midwives with a Bachelor of Science (Midwifery). After graduating, students are deployed back to their villages where their skills are desperately needed. Catherine had a vision of a midwife for every village in Ethiopia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Through this designation, the WHO is recognising the work of the world’s 22 million nurses and two million midwives, including the life-saving work of midwives in Ethiopia. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General and long-time supporter of Catherine and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, reflected on the importance of the initiative, saying, “nurses and midwives are the backbone of every health system: in 2020 we’re calling on all countries to invest in nurses and midwives as part of their commitment to health for all.”

Giving Tuesday Now

Giving Tuesday is a philanthropic movement that encourages people to give back by contributing to charities and is generally held in late November or December. This year, in response to COVID-19, today has been designated as a second Giving Tuesday, stylised as ‘Giving Tuesday Now’. The pandemic has caused ripples in every aspect of life – including how midwives in rural Ethiopia care for patients. Hamlin Midwives have also been using their platform as community leaders to raise awareness about preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the communities they are working in. The trust that Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has built up over decades with rural women and their families is now being used to help keep everyone safe. This Giving Tuesday you can connect with the wider community by supporting Hamlin Midwives in their efforts to provide quality healthcare for women and newborn babies in regional communities in Ethiopia.

Today and everyday we salute the invaluable work of midwives. This Giving Tuesday, you can help train or equip a midwife saving lives in Ethiopia. Click here to see how you can make a difference.

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