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Studying Midwifery During a Pandemic

Studying Midwifery during a pandemic. Like millions of students around the globe, Rahmet’s studies have looked a little different this year; through emails, online discussion boards, and phone calls, the third year midwifery student has been continuing her studies from home during a nation-wide lockdown.

The new normal

In March, following the announcement of the Ethiopian government’s measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hamlin College of Midwives closed its campus and sent its 98 students back home to study remotely from their rural communities across Ethiopia. The College enacted a plan for students to continue learning from home. Each cohort has a designated advisor supporting students via phone and email, as well as online learning groups where instructors provide materials and students exchange ideas.

Students studying Midwifery are encouraged to take responsibility for one another despite being physically distant: each cohort has an assigned group leader who is responsible for coordinating group challenges and solving them under the supervision of instructors. The College also facilitates student visits to nearby government clinics for practical observations in addition to their theory work.

Screen Shot 2020 09 16 at 3.18.07 pm | Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation (USA) | Working to eradicate obstetric fistula. Forever.

Rahmet's studies

Hamlin midwifery student Rahmet is home in Mettu and is studying Midwifery every day; like so many people around the world, working from home is not the same. “Before we left the College, our instructors equipped us with enough materials for each course and we are now studying from home. To be honest, this is the longest time I have spent away from school in my life: I miss my classmates and feel detached from the teaching process,” reveals Rahmet.

For Rahmet, her studies make up part of a packed schedule giving back to her family and her community during a trying time: “Alongside my studies, I spend the day helping my Mum at home, teaching neighbors ways to prevent spreading COVID-19, and visiting the government clinic for practical observation,” says Rahmet.

Rahmet hopes to return to her classes and friends soon. “I can’t wait to re-join college life inside that breathtaking compound when the pandemic is under control,” says Rahmet. The Hamlin College of Midwives is hoping to re-open its campus in late September in time for the new academic year. They’re prepared for an intense few months of extra evening and weekend classes to make up missed classes. Hamlin midwives are the cornerstone of Dr Catherine Hamlin’s vision - ensuring that women in Ethiopia have access to quality health care during pregnancy and birth.

Screen Shot 2020 09 16 at 3.18.00 pm | Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation (USA) | Working to eradicate obstetric fistula. Forever.

Even in the most difficult of times, our students and midwives in the field are studying and working harder than ever. Because of them, obstetric fistula as well as countless maternal and neo-natal deaths are being prevented, every day. Their work is nothing short of remarkable and it is possible thanks to supporters like you. Thank you.

Learn more about the Hamlin College of Midwives here.

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All rights reserved 2020 Catherine Hamlin Foundation (R) (ABN58159647499)
Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation is fiscally sponsored by KBFUS (EIN582277856) and KBF Canada (RCO769784893RR0001)

Photography credits to Cameron Bloom, Nigel Brennan, Mary F. Calvert, Kate Geraghty, Amber Hooper, Joni Kabana, Johannes Remling and Martha Tadesse.

Patient names and images have been changed to protect the identities of those we help.