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Meet Zelalem Belete, Dean of the Hamlin College of Midwives as he thanks Big Give supporters

We are excited to introduce you to our amazing team of #HealthHeroes in Ethiopia.

These individuals are providing life-changing support for women across Ethiopia to treat and prevent childbirth injury.

In this edition, Dean of the Hamlin College of Midwives Zelalem Belete sends a special thank you to Big Give Christmas Challenge supporters and tells us about his work training Ethiopia’s next generation of midwives.


Zelalem Belete, Dead of Hamlin College of Midwives
Zelalem officiating at a Hamlin College of Midwives graduation ceremony. Photo: Joni Kabana.

Zelalem is thinking back on the almost 200 newly qualified midwives he has seen graduate from the Hamlin College of Midwives since he joined Hamlin in 2012, “Seeing the young students, most of whom are from remote areas of Ethiopia, developing into some of the best midwives in the country gives me enormous pride” he tells us.

Zelalem is hugely experienced and originally trained as a nurse himself at the Centralized School of Nursing in Ethiopia, and also holds a BSc in nursing from Jimma University and a Masters of Philosophy in International Community from Oslo University.

As well as working as a practising nurse, he has led and taught at a range of educational institutions prior to joining Hamlin, but working for Hamlin was always his goal:

“Working at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia has been my dream since I was a student…I was so fortunate to meet Reg and Catherine Hamlin when I had an attachment to the Addis Ababa fistula hospital”.

Zelalem Belete, Dean, Hamlin College of Midwives

Today, Zelalem’s busy role also includes overseeing the provision of continuing professional support to practising Hamlin midwives that have been deployed to rural health centres across Ethiopia, including leading the recent establishment of the Hamlin Midwives Alumni Network. This network brings Hamlin midwives together to share skills and support each other.

In January 2022 the Hamlin College of Midwives will launch a new Masters course in Clinical Midwifery, and Zelalem has worked hard to develop a curriculum which will see practising midwives take their skills to the next level.

The Masters course will last two and half years and enable midwives to also go on to train other midwives. This multiplier effect is important to Zelalem:

“Our work in the eradication of obstetric fistula in Ethiopia…and the College’s influence in the improvement of maternal and child healthcare services in the rural community greatly excites me”.

His final message is to Hamlin Fistula UK’s Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021 supporters:

“Your generous support through the Big Give is contributing to the next generation of highly skilled, compassionate, respectful and goal-oriented midwives in Ethiopia. Thank you!”


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