To achieve Dr Catherine Hamlin’s goal of eradicating fistula forever, we need more midwives in rural areas of Ethiopia to identify pregnancy complications and prevent obstetric fistula in the first place.
Watch Catherine talk about her vision for a midwife in every village!
A midwife can be the difference between life and death.
Hamlin midwifery students are recruited from rural areas and trained at the Hamlin College of Midwives. When they graduate they return to serve in their villages and are often the only healthcare workers for hundreds of kilometres.
In Ethiopia just 3 in 10 women have access to medical care during their pregnancy. The Hamlin midwifery program is a cornerstone of Dr Catherine Hamlin’s vision to ensure that women in Ethiopia no longer have to suffer an obstructed labour for days on end with no medical care.
Meet Kamali and Aida. Both women grew up in the same community in northern Ethiopia.
Kamali trained as a midwife.
Aida suffered without one.
Like a lot of Ethiopian women (over 70%), Aida faced childbirth without the assistance of a midwife. She endured a five-day-long obstructed labour which resulted in a stillborn baby and an obstetric fistula injury that would plague her for the next 12 years.
In August this year, Aida had surgery at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. She is now totally dry and excited to start her new life. If a midwife like Kamali had been present during Aida’s pregnancy and labour, actions could have been taken to avoid a fistula injury and save her baby.
In July this year, Kamali graduated as a Hamlin midwife after four years of study at the Hamlin College of Midwives. Kamali will be deployed back into her local community to ensure no woman has to suffer like Aida.
Last year, Hamlin midwives delivered 30,095 babies and not a single fistula occurred where a Hamlin midwife was present.
“It is supporters like you who are giving life back to the poor women of my country, and I have no words to express my gratitude. Now it is my turn to go out into my community to deliver quality care for rural women and make you proud.” – Kamali
The Hamlin College of Midwives
The Hamlin College of Midwives is a centre of excellence for the training of midwives. Since 2007, 170 Hamlin midwives have graduated. The curriculum meets the stringent standards of the International Confederation of Midwives, including the precondition that students conduct at least 40 deliveries before they graduate. Each student undertakes a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Midwifery and commits to working as a Hamlin midwife for a minimum of four years following their graduation.
Each student is on a full Hamlin scholarship, funded by generous donors like you. There are now 66 rural midwifery clinics staffed by Hamlin midwives.
The impact of Hamlin midwives
The impact of a Hamlin midwife is remarkable – when a midwife arrives at a clinic, new cases of fistula drop to almost zero in nearby villages. Over the past three years Hamlin midwives have delivered over 70,000 babies and saved many mothers from suffering an obstetric fistula.
The importance of these health professionals cannot be overemphasised: every day, more than 830 women around the world die as a result of complications from pregnancy and childbirth. If midwives were present during birth, up to 90 percent of these deaths could be prevented, according to the International Confederation of Midwives.
Watch this video of Hamlin midwife Mahlet working in the field. Mahlet is preventing fistula and saving the lives of Ethiopian mothers and their babies, daily.