Preventing Fistula: A Hamlin Success Story

It only takes one midwife to transform a community; each Hamlin Midwife is a success story. Hamlin Midwives prevent obstetric fistulas from occurring by providing quality perinatal and postnatal care to women in rural Ethiopia. Because a Hamlin Midwife was present, hundreds of thousands of successful births have taken place in Ethiopia. As such, Hamlin Midwives are pivotal cornerstones of their communities. Through their expertise, experience and local connections, Hamlin Midwives are able to build the trust necessary to relay vital information on women’s health and COVID-19.

Transforming maternal health in rural Ethiopia

The deployment of Hamlin Midwives has transformed healthcare for women in rural Ethiopia; a place where a midwife is often the difference between life and death.

Nestled among the hills of Eastern Ethiopia, the Hamlin-supported midwifery clinic in the Jarso Health Centre is making a profound impact on the local community. Hamlin Midwives, Seada and Mawerdi, were the first professional midwives in the clinic’s history, building relationships with the local community. The trust that the clinic has engendered has seen local women preferring to give birth at the clinic rather than at home. This has drastically reduced the likelihood of an obstetric fistula developing and a baby’s life being lost. The installation of solar power and the construction of accommodation for the midwives has transformed the clinic to a sustainable place for quality healthcare.


“Hamlin has transformed the maternal healthcare service of Jarso Health Centre,” says Mebkiyu, a senior midwife who mentors graduates in the surrounds of the Hamlin’s Harar Regional Fistula Hospital, “Hamlin is the biggest and oldest partner of the clinic, supporting it through deploying skilled midwives, supplying essential medicines and equipment, and renovating the maternity ward. The combination of these three things results in the high success rates that the clinic is known for.”

The impact of Hamlin’s support can be felt in the 1,300 annual deliveries that take place at the clinic, a remarkable growth from the 36 annual deliveries that occurred when Hamlin started working with the clinic in 2011. As a result, the clinic’s achievements in maternal healthcare and childbirth were recognised with a regional government award.

Seada and Mawerdi are now teachers at the Hamlin College of Midwives where they are imparting their practical experience on a new generation of midwives. The College recruits talented students from regional areas and awards them scholarships. This vital education is possible thanks to the generosity of Hamlin supporters.


One midwife can make a difference

Another Hamlin Midwife, Mahlet, graduated in 2016 and started working at a Hamlin-supported midwifery clinic in Amarit, near her hometown in Northern Ethiopia. Before her arrival, there were no midwives at the clinic. Mahlet has been working in this remote area for four years. Here, she services a population of over 42,000 people – preventing fistulas and successfully attending births. Because of Mahlet’s work and training, more women in her area are able to access the peri- and postnatal care they need. Mahlet’s makes a difference in the lives of hundreds of women; she safely delivers more than 60 babies every month.

Dr Catherine Hamlin founded the Hamlin College of Midwives in 2007. The College provides scholarships to high-achieving students from rural Ethiopia and provides them with best-practice teaching, including practical training in delivering babies. To date, almost 200 students have graduated from the Hamlin College of Midwives with a Bachelor of Science (Midwifery).

The success stories of Hamlin Midwives like Mahlet – and their life-saving work – is only possible thanks to the generosity of Hamlin supporters. Click here to help continue their work.

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