“My dream is to eradicate obstetric fistula from Ethiopia. I won’t achieve this in my lifetime, but you can in yours.”– Dr Catherine Hamlin
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia works with a range of Program Partners to further develop and strengthen program areas. Collaborative partnerships aid best-practice operations and delivery, helping to ensure the best possible health outcomes for Ethiopia’s women.
Solar Suitcase Initiative
Since 2012, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has partnered with GreenLamp to improve health outcomes for women in rural Ethiopia. GreenLamp’s Solar Suitcase Initiative provides sustainable clean power to Hamlin’s rural midwifery clinics, where there is often no reliable power and light.
GreenLamp install solar systems in rural health centres where graduated Hamlin Midwives are deployed, providing power for surgical-quality lighting and charging of cell phones for emergency referrals, a foetal doppler, and solar fridges for storing vital medicine and vaccines. This enhances our midwives’ ability to provide safer birthing conditions, specifically preventing postpartum haemorrhage – the leading cause of maternal death worldwide – with the drug oxytocin, which needs to be kept in a cold chain.
GreenLamp’s solar suitcases support safe deliveries and encourage women to come to health centres, creating a measurable decrease in traumatic birth injuries and preventable deaths. To date, GreenLamp have installed and maintained over 250 solar suitcases in Ethiopia, including Hamlin Midwifery Clinics, reaching over 1 million women of reproductive age. You can learn more here.
Hamlin Midwives Alumni Network
In 2018, GreenLamp established the Hamlin Midwives Alumni Network (HMAN) – a network to provide ongoing support and training for graduates of the Hamlin College of Midwives.
HMAN goals include leadership growth, professional development, the proliferation of evidence-based best practice work, as well as the facilitation of feedback from midwives on projects, equipment and skills training.
HMAN members connect online throughout the year, at regional meetings and at Annual Summits which are an opportunity to come together, network and workshop news skills and developments in midwifery. Each region defines how they establish and run HMAN; Regional Representatives are selected in each area to manage and coordinate communication between midwives.
For Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, the establishment of an alumni network significantly contributes to sustaining the quality of education received at the Hamlin College of Midwives. In essence, by providing Hamlin Midwives with ongoing support and training, HMAN makes great midwives even better!
Patient identification and connecting women to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia
In 2020, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and UNFPA Ethiopia formed a partnership to combine efforts to improve maternal health outcomes for Ethiopian women living with untreated obstetric fistula injuries.
This three-year joint project focuses on improving access to fistula and prolapse treatment for Ethiopian women, as well as reaching more women for screening and referral of cervical cancer.
The project focuses on improving the accessibility of quality services to women with childbirth injuries. Since the project was launched in September 2019, 996 women have been identified and treated.
Women’s Hope International
Women’s Empowerment Program at Hamlin’s Desta Mender
In 2021, in partnership with Women’s Hope International, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s team at Desta Mender (Hamlin’s Rehabilitation & Reintegration Centre) launched a new vocational training program for former patients in need of income generation support – the Women’s Empowerment Program.
The Women’s Empowerment Program is a three-month residential program at Desta Mender designed to provide practical vocational skills for women who need it most. With the support of Women’s Hope International, this groundbreaking initiative trains women in vital vocational skills, small business guidance and leadership training.
Vocational training programs include catering and agricultural processing, vegetable and poultry farming, beekeeping and pottery, to name a few. The quality and extent of vocational training continues to improve with enhanced patient profiling, new training manuals and support from training institutes. Trainees through the program are empowered to create a brighter future with greater income independence and choices.
The feedback from former patients has been overwhelmingly positive, the program truly life changing for many women like Mulu; “I used to live in much suffering. When we were invited for this training after being cured, I was so happy and did not have words to express… I hope to open a small inn in my village and sell food.”
Over the last year the Women’s Empowerment Program trained 215 women. So far, 425 women have benefitted through the program since its inception, with another 240 expected in 2023.
Regional Health Bureaus
Hamlin’s Masters of Midwifery Recruitment
The Hamlin College of Midwives recently launched a Postgraduate Masters of Science Degree in Clinical Midwifery, with the first intake of 31 students having begun in January 2022. All students in Ethiopia who have graduated with a BSc in Midwifery from a tertiary educational institute can apply for the Master’s. The program focuses on emergency obstetric, gynaecologic and newborn care.
This two-and-a-half-year Master’s Program involves 582 hours of practical attachments managed across Hamlin Midwifery Clinics in remote areas of Ethiopia. Graduates from the Masters will be adept at performing Caesarean deliveries and overseeing complex births. They will also form the next generation of midwifery educators.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has partnered with the Regional Health Bureaus to ensure the best quality candidates come through this program. The Regional Health Bureaus propose candidates for the program based on an academic assessment against the entry standards.
To support Hamlin Bsc in Midwifery graduates applying for the new Master’s Program, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and the Regional Health Bureaus have agreed to reserve 50% of course enrollments for former Hamlin College of Midwives graduates. All former Hamlin students selected by the Regional Health Bureaus will have their courses sponsored by Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and our international funding partners. Hamlin’s goal is to continue to scale up the program and increase future intakes annually. Another intake of 30 students will commence in January 2023, with approximately half of these being former Hamlin BSc graduates.