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Meet Hamlin Midwife Etenesh Askenaw – Transforming Maternity Care

For twenty-seven-year-old Etenesh, studying health was her life-long dream. When Hamlin approached her about a midwifery scholarship she didn’t hesitate to apply.

Born and raised in the small town of Gorgora, located on the shore of Lake Tana where the Blue Nile River starts its long journey, Etenesh studied at the Hamlin College of Midwives for four years, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in midwifery in 2018. After graduation, Etenesh was deployed to Hamlin’s Robit midwifery centre her hometown. Robit serves an area with over 42 thousand people but had poor maternal healthcare services. Working alongside her Hamlin midwifery colleague and a government midwife, Etenesh is committed to improving the maternal healthcare service. In her three and half years of service at Robit, she has attended an average of twenty safe deliveries each month.

Her work is not without its challenges. During the rainy season, the flood affected area means they have to walk barefoot through mud to help mothers.

“During the rainy season the road for ambulance will get damaged, and we are forced to manage complications by ourselves. Because of the quality training we had received at the collage we try to handle complications with confidence, and we are lucky to help those mothers without any bad consequences,” she explains.

The quality service she is providing makes Etenesh a respected professional midwife among the community, and she became the head of MCH (Maternal and Child Health) department of the clinic.

“I believe that anyone who wants to be a best midwife should study at Hamlin.” Etenesh explains, “During the four years study time I learned not just midwifery, but I met with the most selfless woman of the planet – Dr Catherine Hamlin, and learned what humanity really means. I also have learned how to provide quality of care, time management and obeying to professional ethics. All these are still my day-to-day life principles I strictly follow.”

Etenesh was involved in Hamlin’s recent patient identification, screening for women with fistula and prolapse. She successfully identified and referred a fistula patient to Bahirdar Hamlin Fistula Hospital this year.

“Since our deployment, Hamlin has been making significant supports to the clinic such as essential drugs and equipment, helping us provide quality services. The solar light installed by Hamlin also has a very important role during night deliveries. We used to use our phone light with our mouth, which hindered us from providing emotional support for the mother under labour,” recounts Etenesh.  

This critical clinical support to midwives like Etenesh is made possible because of supporters like you. Thank you for partnering with us to make a life-saving impact for thousands of vulnerable women and babies.

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Hamlin Fistula NZ is committed to providing ongoing support for fistula surgery and for the preventive work of the midwives. The hospital in Addis Ababa has become a centre of excellence to which doctors from other countries come to learn and master the specialist skills of fistula surgery.

Photography credits to Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Joli Wescombe, Natasha Meyer and Martha Tadesse.