Swansea University Midwifery Lecturer visits Ethiopia

Sarah Norris, a midwifery lecturer at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences has visited Ethiopia as part of her role as trustee of Midwives@Ethiopia, a charity that has been so successful that is has won the Wales Africa Gold Star award 2014.

Midwives@Ethiopia is a midwifery led charity which has been working for the last 3 years in partnership with the Regional  Health Bureau and Hawassa College of Health Science in SNNPR, Ethiopia. The charity evolved from the Southern Ethiopia Gwent Health Link, which ceased to operate in 2011.

Sarah Norris said: “We go to Ethiopia twice a year for 2 weeks to offer Education and training programmes to Midwifery teachers, Midwives and Health Extension Workers. We work with our Midwifery partners in Ethiopia to deliver the teaching programmes together and we return to the same areas on each visit to consolidate our training and evaluate the impact of our work on the outcomes and experience of mothers and babies.

The Maternal Mortality rate in Ethiopia remains unacceptably high at 627 per 100,000 live births and the neonatal mortality rate is 29 per 1000 births. The reasons why mothers die are all easily preventable and treatable with adequate maternal health provision. Additionally 90% of mothers give birth at home without the support of a skilled health worker and Midwives@Ethiopia are dedicated to improving the numbers of skilled healthcare workers for pregnant women and their new babies.

Since 2012 Midwives@Ethiopia has trained 205 midwives and 285 Health Extension workers in Ethiopia. Training for the midwives is evidence based, up to date and includes emergency skills as well as accountability, professionalism, mentorship and respectful maternity care. Midwifery tutors are supported with developing their teaching skills, support in further education and in writing research.”

Sarah continued: “We were pleased to be able to offer colleagues, Eleanor Healer (a Midwifery lecturer at Swansea University) and Catrin Elis ( a Midwife Singleton Hospital) the opportunity to come with us and be involved in the teaching programmes and also gain a better understanding of the problems faced by midwives and health services overall in developing countries. We all worked very hard, saw both negative and positive examples of midwifery care, and despite the usual tummy troubles have returned healthy and much wiser than before!”

Midwives@Ethiopia has just been awarded the Wales Africa Gold Star award 2014 for its work as a Partnership Link.  Representatives from the charity will be going to the Senedd in Cardiff on 4th December for the award to be made by the First minister, Carwen Jones.  

For further info about midwives@ethiopia visit www.midwives-ethiopia.org.uk