Midwives save lives

International Day of the Midwife 2017 

Did you know that today is International Day of the Midwife? May 5th is a day for us to celebrate these wonderful health professionals and all the passion, love and life-saving medical support they provide to women giving birth. Each year 350,000 women around the world die due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth. If a midwife was present during the birth, up to 90 percent of these deaths could be prevented, according to the International Confederation of Midwives.

‘My dream is for there to be a midwife in every village of Ethiopia’ – Dr Catherine Hamlin

Ensuring women in Ethiopia no longer suffer for days on end in obstructed labour has been Dr Catherine Hamlin’s long time dream. She saw that access to qualified midwives particularly in remote rural Ethiopia was the key and in 2007, the Hamlin College of Midwives was ‘born’.

Meet Tafetech, a Hamlin midwife

Tafetech Yalew is 24 years old and was raised in the historic city of Gondar, in Northern Ethiopia. Tafetech completed her high school as one of the top-ranking students and came to the attention of the Hamlin College of Midwives who screen for outstanding girls from rural Ethiopia. After completing a tough selection process, Tafetech was delighted to be offered a free scholarship to attend the Hamlin College of Midwives.

In 2012 she joined the Midwifery College and graduated after four years of high quality training. During her time there she was described as ‘active, friendly and very passionate for the profession’. She was so passionate about her work, that she attended 180 deliveries during her training, three times the minimum requirement!

In October 2016, Tafetech proudly graduated from the Hamlin College with distinction. She is the 6th year to graduate and she is one of 105 Hamlin midwives deployed in 34 different rural health clinics. She is now working in a government health clinic close to her home town doing what she loves to do – helping to bring new lives into the world and working to keep women safe from obstetric injury.

Midwives attending childbirth – the difference between life and death

Over the past three years, Hamlin midwives like Tafetech have delivered over 40,000 babies between them and their influence is remarkable. When a Hamlin midwife arrives at a rural midwifery clinic, supervised deliveries at the clinic sky rocket and new cases of obstetric fistula are virtually unheard of. The clinics have prevented hundreds of maternal and neonatal deaths. And as more Hamlin midwives are trained (there are another 92 currently studying at the College), their influence will continue to grow and grow.

So to every midwife around the world THANK YOU for being who you are and doing what you are doing. Although we remember you in particular today on International Day of the Midwife, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts every day of the year.

You can help train more Hamlin midwives and prevent fistula by donating today.

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