Midwifery School ~ Hamlin College of Midwives
The World Health Organization has stated that every mother should have a skilled birth attendant. In Ethiopia there is a lack of skilled birth attendants.
With only 1,000 qualified midwives in Ethiopia for a population of nearly 80 million, investing in midwifery training is crucial to reducing Ethiopia’s devastating maternal mortality and morbidity. With 85% of the population living in rural areas and 95% of births taking place without a medically trained person in attendance carefully selected and trained midwives are seen as a “bridge” between rural communities and health facilities.
To provide for every rural community a skilled birth attendant who will provide services for the pre-natal, intra-natal and post natal period for every woman within the predetermined catchment area.
- To train midwives specifically to work in their own communities
- To enable the midwife to work alone within the community
- To provide her with adequate tools for the task
- To support her through regular supervision
- To ensure means of communication/transportation to health facilities for good referral systems
- To facilitate financial backing for this endeavor
- To give regular refresher courses both for learning and morale building
The Hamlin College of Midwives commenced training its first intake of 12 students in November 2007. The college is located on land adjacent to Desta Mender which is about half an hours drive from Addis Ababa.
The College has started small but will increase each intake so that up to 60 students will be trained and accommodated at the College once it is fully operational.
According to Dr Catherin Hamlin, “this is the Hospital’s most important long term initiative so far towards preventing the scourge of obstetric fistula”. She prays that “in time the college will contribute significantly to eradicating obstetric fistulae which ruin the lives of so many young rural Ethiopian women”.
Our midwives will be trained to monitor women in safe motherhood where the need is the greatest - in rural Ethiopia - with a good referral system, radio communications and transportation available for emergencies.
At the moment the College has two main buildings. There is a multi-purpose building which comprises several offices, a combined classroom/demonstration room and a combined library/computer room. The dining room and kitchen have been completed and for this year we renovated some old buildings for student accommodation and recreation.
Annette Bennett with students
Sister Annette Bennett is the Dean of the College and a midwife tutor. Annette has worked tirelessly on developing the course curriculum and attaining Accreditation. Professor Barbara Kwast from the Netherlands, who is one of our visiting midwifery tutors, has also worked along side Annette is developing the course content.
Sister Annette writes:
“We have a wonderful group of students. They are very enthusiastic and conscientious. It is a privilege to be working with these young women and to see them develop the skills they need to become highly trained midwives and leaders in their communities. It is our vision that all women in Ethiopia will have access to a well trained midwife and that we will see an end to the devastation of obstetric fistula”.
The College has developed a progressive curriculum and it is the first curriculum in the country to approach midwifery as an autonomous profession. It emphasises the ‘acquisition and competency’ of internationally recognised midwifery skills as well as exploring ‘problem based learning’. This will enable the midwives to work confidently and autonomously in the resource poor areas of rural Ethiopia. Upon successfully completing their studies the students will receive a Bachelor in Midwifery degree.
It is vital that these students gain a thorough command of English as there are no text books written in their native tongue. We have been very blessed to have two women volunteers who are trained in teaching English as a Second Language.
The degree covers study and practical assessment in:-
- Labour & Delivery
- Ante-natal and post-natal care
- Family planning
- HIV/AIDS counseling
- Community health & communication
- Record Keeping
- Medication Administration
- Infection prevention
- General Medicine
The first intake of twelve students was hand-picked by the College staff from rural areas surrounding our regional centres of Bahir Dah (Amharra area), Mekelle (Tigrey area) and Yirgalem (Southern Nations area).
The second selection of students intake was from Tigrey in the north, Oromia (a town near our new hospital in Harar which is to the east of the country) and the Sidamo region in the south.
Girls with a genuine interest in maternal health and who had successfully completed grade 12 were selected from rural schools.
- It is very important to train the right person for the right community. The Hamlin College is not only training midwives but in collaboration with various health bureaus it will deploy the qualified midwives back to their home areas. They will be known to that community, they will speak the local language and they will have an understanding of the regional culture.
- It costs $4,000 per year to train and accommodate one midwifery student at the Hamlin College of Midwives
Photos of the school