Hamlin Midwives: The Key to a Fistula-Free Ethiopia
To achieve Dr Catherine Hamlin’s vision of eradicating obstetric fistula forever, we need more midwives in rural areas of Ethiopia to identify pregnancy complications and prevent obstetric fistula in the first place. That’s why in 2007 Catherine established the Hamlin College of Midwives to increase access to quality healthcare across Ethiopia.
What is the Hamlin College of Midwives?
The Hamlin College of Midwives is a centre of excellence for the training of midwives in Ethiopia. It is located 10km outside of Addis Ababa, on the same grounds as Hamlin’s Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre, Desta Mender.
Since 2007, over 230 Hamlin Midwives have graduated from the College. 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. Students are deployed back to their local areas to work in Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics, where their skills are desperately needed. Each student is on a full Hamlin scholarship, funded by generous donors like you.
This is a cornerstone of Catherine’s vision – ensuring that women in Ethiopia have access to quality healthcare to prevent fistula injuries in the first place.
Hamlin’s Postgraduate Masters in Midwifery
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s new Postgraduate Masters of Science Degree in Clinical Midwifery at the Hamlin College of Midwives is underway! The first intake of twenty students began their studies in January 2022. All students are on a full scholarship, thanks to our generous supporters.
Hamlin’s goal is to continue to scale up and increase future intakes to thirty students annually. As a postgraduate program, the Masters consists of 55 credit hours of study and 582 hours of clinical practice that will be completed over two and a half years of study.
Key outcomes of Hamlin’s Masters in Midwifery:
- Reduce new incidences of obstetric fistula and maternal/neonatal deaths
- Increase number of safe deliveries of newborn babies
- Provision of quality neonatal care post childbirth by Hamlin Midwives
- Reduce crisis referrals to Hamlin hospitals for emergency caesarean section deliveries due to early detection of pregnancy/childbirth complications by Hamlin Midwives
What is the Impact of a Hamlin Midwife?
The impact of a Hamlin Midwife is remarkable – when a midwife arrives at a Hamlin-supported midwifery clinic, new cases of obstetric fistula drop to almost zero in nearby villages. Hamlin Midwives play an essential role in preventing fistula injuries and saving the lives of hundreds of mothers and babies every year.
Based in more than 90 Hamlin-supported midwifery clinics across rural Ethiopia, these trained professionals also support, nurture and empower women while sharing invaluable knowledge, building trusting networks and transforming entire communities.
Over the past year alone, Hamlin Midwives have safely delivered 18,606 babies. In recent times, our midwives have also been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, helping to prevent infection in the communities they work in.
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% of these deaths could be prevented, according to the International Confederation of Midwives.
In rural Ethiopia, just 50% of women have access to medical care during their pregnancy, so the increasing number of midwives in rural communities is vital to ensure women no longer suffer for days on end in an obstructed labour. You can read our blog posts about Hamlin Midwives here, as well as watch the below video of Hamlin Midwife, Mahlet, working in remote northern Ethiopia.
“Midwifery I believe is the answer – to put a well trained midwife in every village of Ethiopia would soon eradicate obstetric fistula.”
– Dr Catherine Hamlin