This morning we went to sort out yet more paperwork to get an Ethiopian driving license. We got as far as having the UK license, which we already got stamped by the British Embassy on our last visit, authenticated at the Ministry of foreign affairs and then head off to the ministry for transport, which is a considerable drive out of town. When we got there, however, the gong for lunch sounded and everyone packed up for the next 2 hours. Since we had an appointment at the Hamlin midwifery college at 1.30, we had to leave without a licence. They did, however, very helpfully give us a form to complete. The only problem is it is all written in Amharic!
The midwifery college was really quite an inspiring place. They offered a really comprehensive 4-year programme for the students and appeared to support them really well during their clinical placements. It’s an expensive course at $4000 per year, but in all honesty, it seems to me that if Ethiopia is really going to reduce their maternal and child mortality, they are going to have to train their midwives a lot better than they do. Currently, there is a focus on fast track training of general nurses, which lasts for a year. In theory, this sounds ideal, but the quality of the training is variable and the biggest problem is that they lack clinical exposure and so end up being sent out to work in remote areas with little skills. Hence the woman I wrote about in an earlier blog who was induced at a health centre, despite having a breech presentation and then when she failed to deliver (unsurprisingly) she was sent on the bus to get to hospital.
The Hamlin midwifery college seems to not only provide a comprehensive midwifery course but they also ensure that the midwives are supported in their workplaces once they have completed their training.