Dr Catherine Hamlin’s fight to eradicate obstetric fistula has seen her spearhead a national prevention program in Ethiopia.
Students are recruited from rural areas and trained to be midwives. They then 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 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.
The Hamlin College of Midwives
Since 2007, 125 midwives have graduated from the Hamlin College of Midwives.
The college is a centre of excellence for the training of midwives. 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 48 rural midwifery clinics staffed by 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 40,000 babies and saved many mothers from suffering an obstetric fistula.
Hamlin midwives have also prevented hundreds of maternal and neonatal deaths.
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.
A midwife can be the difference between life and death.
Read our blog posts about Hamlin Midwives here.
Graduates, Mawerdi and Seada (pictured), work in Jarso Health Centre in rural Ethiopia. Since their arrival in 2011, they have started a community education program, which has seen deliveries at the health centre increase from 50 per year to a staggering 1,000.
Hear more about their life-saving work in the video below.