Dr Catherine Hamlin’s fight in eradicating obstetric fistula has seen her lead a program of prevention through Ethiopia. Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia recruits students from rural areas, puts them through rigorous training as midwives, and deploys them back to their villages where their skills are needed.
This is a cornerstone of Catherine Hamlin’s vision – ensuring that women in Ethiopia have access to qualified midwives so they no longer suffer for days on end with an obstructed labour.
The Hamlin College of Midwives
Since 2007, 125 midwives have graduated from the Hamlin College of Midwives.
The Hamlin College of Midwives is a centre of excellence for the training of midwives. The College 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 36 rural midwifery clinics staffed by Hamlin midwives.
The downstream effects of a Hamlin midwife are remarkable – when a Hamlin midwife arrives at a midwifery 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: each year, more than 350,000 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.
Two graduates of the Hamlin College of Midwives, Mawerdi and Seada (pictured), work in Jarso health centre in rural Ethiopia. Since their arrival in 2011, both midwives have been integral in starting 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.