A midwife for every woman. It’s a simple concept and one that we believe will make the biggest difference in finally ending fistula, forever. Under a midwife’s care, problems can be identified early and their work can be the difference between life and death.
In 2021, Hamlin midwives at midwifery clinics across Ethiopia supported 22,344 women to give birth
– with all deliveries fistula free.
Dr Catherine Hamlin’s fight to eradicate fistula saw her spearhead a national obstetric fistula prevention programme in Ethiopia which Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia continues to play a leading role in.
In 2007, the Hamlin College of Midwives was opened.
Students who are high school graduates are recruited from rural areas and trained in a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Midwifery, with a rigorous curriculum of theory and practice. Each student is on a full Hamlin scholarship, funded by generous donors from around the world.
The college is a centre of excellence and 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 commits to working as a Hamlin midwife for a minimum of four years following their graduation. They then return to serve in their villages and are often the only healthcare workers for hundreds of kilometres.
Since 2007, 195 midwives have graduated from the college and are now working in rural midwifery clinics across the country, in reach of our regional fistula hospitals for times when referrals are needed. Over the past three years Hamlin midwives have delivered over 40,000 babies and saved many mothers from suffering an obstetric fistula, as well as preventing hundreds of maternal and neonatal deaths.
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 percent of these deaths could be prevented, according to the International Confederation of Midwives.
In January 2022 a new Masters in Clinical Midwifery course will launch at the Hamlin College of Midwives, 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.
Click here to read more about the new Masters course.
Hamlin midwives in action
Graduates, Mawerdi and Seada (pictured), work in Jarso Health Centre in rural Ethiopia. Since their arrival in 2011, they have started a community education program, which has seen deliveries at the health centre increase from 50 per year to a staggering 1,000.
Watch a short video showing Hamlin Midwives’ life-saving work in practice: