In addition to treatment, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is responsible for realising the Hamlin’s original intention for travelling to Ethiopia: the training of midwives to assist in the countryside and prevent these terrible fistula injuries. Midwives are essential to both the prevention of obstetric fistula and improving maternal health. With a population over 90 million there are less than 7,000 trained midwives in Ethiopia.
The Hamlin College of Midwives is building the Ethiopian midwifery workforce year by year, working towards the goal of providing a midwife for every pregnant woman in Ethiopia.
The Hamlin College of Midwives commenced training its first intake of students in November 2007. Girls with an interest in maternal health and who have completed preparatory class are selected from rural schools in the areas where midwives are most desperately needed. Students have been recruited across Ethiopia including Bahir Dar (Amharra area), Mekele (Tigray area), Yirgalem (Southern Nations area), Oromia and the Sidamo region in the south.
Students are trained in a rigorous and comprehensive Bachelor of Science four-year degree with some managing more than 100 deliveries during training. On graduation, the midwives are deployed back to the rural provinces they came from, where they are familiar with the people and the language. This increases the likelihood that they will stay, providing long-term midwifery services to a population with so few health services. Hamlin midwives are placed with another midwife in an antenatal clinic with the support of an obstetrician-gynaecologist and ambulance service from our own rural fistula hospitals. The impact of the midwives is nowhere more evident that in the village of Birakat, where only 36 women gave birth at the government health centre. That number has now increased to 200 since the Hamlin midwives began their work in the village.
Some Interesting stats:
- There are 34 Hamlin supported midwifery clinics established across rural Ethiopia
- We have 87 midwives currently in training
- Since we began in 2010, there has been NOT ONE maternal death where Hamlin midwives have been in attendance
- Its costs $4,500 each year to train and accommodate one midwifery student.