Hamlin College of Midwives graduate transforms a struggling health centre

In a health centre in Olonso in south-west Ethiopia, expectant and new mothers enjoy improved care thanks to the work of its head, Aster Sodo—an exceptional midwife and Hamlin College of Midwives graduate. Aster is supported by a government-trained midwife.

When Aster first joined the health centre two years ago she was disappointed to find it in bad order, with substandard hygiene. Aster was determined to turn the centre around. Her efforts included boosting hygiene and sanitation, and promoting the use of the service to local women. The provision of a Solar Suitcase marked another great addition to the centre. Previously, Aster would resort to holding a mobile phone in her mouth for light at night. Now, the Solar Suitcase guarantees lighting in both the birthing room and the room for pre- and postnatal care. The suitcase also provides a fetal doppler; Aster says expectant mothers are delighted to hear their babies heart beat via the device.

Aster considers her work goes beyond the centre. Her outreach work shows empathy and dedication: she regularly attends social gatherings of local pregnant women, providing them with information over a hot cup of coffee. Aster educates them on the importance of contraception, family planning, and pre- and antenatal care in their native dialect. Her devotion to her community has earned the centre an abundance of clients, and their trust.

Aster notes that the centre is very fortunate to be just six kilometres away from the nearest hospital. With the phone-charging station provided by the Solar Suitcase, Aster is able to call an ambulance in case of emergency.

In her two years at the centre, Aster has delivered around 800 babies. Many mothers now opt to give birth at the centre rather than the local hospital or at home. Not only is care at the centre free, but local mothers trust the quality of the service, and know they are in good hands with Aster. It’s no wonder that Aster feels so proud of her professional role.

Alexia Sverdrup, GreenLamp Guest Writer