The Hamlin College of Midwives—linked to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital co-founded by Dr. Catherine Hamlin in Ethiopia—was one of the winners of Women Deliver 50, the top 50 inspiring ideas and solutions that deliver for girls and women.
The ideas that made to the final cut in five different categories were narrowed down through popular vote on Facebook from 125 finalists selected among more than 500 nominations from 103 countries. More than 6,000 individuals voted online to select the 50 winners.
The Hamlin College of Midwives has trained and graduated two classes of midwives to work in rural villages in Ethiopia. Designed to address the lack of skilled birth attendants in the country, it is the first in the country to approach midwifery as an autonomous profession.
Founded in 2007 by the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, the College aims to provide every rural community with a midwife to give vital maternal care services. Watch a video about Dr. Hamlin's work and the College of Midwives here.
Other fistula-related projects that were originally nominated include:
Advocacy and Awareness Campaigns
Sustainable Obstetric Fistula Awareness Network - Terrewode (Uganda)
The Sustainable Obstetric Fistula Awareness Network provides women who are suffering from obstetric fistula with treatment, counseling, and social reintegration services. The program trains a diverse set of volunteers to serve as advocates, identify and support obstetric fistula survivors, and educate their communities. Through community-wide collaborations, the network raises awareness of fistula and advocate for women’s health and political rights.
Fistula Care Project - EngenderHealth
The Fistula Care Project, an initiative present in 11 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, increases access to life-altering fistula repair and removes barriers to emergency obstetric care. The project works with communities to generate awareness about fistula; strengthen access to family planning and quality obstetric care to prevent fistula; improve local surgical facilities; and train surgical teams on fistula repair, care and management. The project works with professional associations and national authorities to establish and monitor quality services, standardize care, and incorporate fistula prevention and treatment into other maternal health programs.
Technologies and Innovations
Fistula Hotline - Gloag Foundation, USAID, UNFPA and Airtel (Sierra Leone)
Established in October 2011, the Fistula Hotline is a public-private partnership that works to change how women are identified and referred for fistula treatment in Sierra Leone. Calling toll free, women are able to talk to specialized nurses about their symptoms and find out if they are eligible for treatment. In the first month of the service, more than 8,000 calls were made to the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, about 165 patients were referred, and so far, 119 patients have been repaired.
M-PESA - Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (Tanzania)
In 2009, Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) started using Vodaphone’s mobile banking system, M-PESA, to help fistula patients pay for transportation to hospitals. CCBRT sends money through SMS to fistula volunteer ambassadors who retrieve the money from a local Vodafone M-PESA agent and buy bus fare for the patients who need treatment. Between January and December 2010, fifty-four ambassadors referred 129 women for fistula repair via M-PESA, with almost half of the cases treated at CCBRT.
The report, recently released by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, calls for systematic notification of fistula cases and the creation of national registers to ensure proper care, follow up and support for all fistula patients.