The main objective of this trip to Ethiopia was to choose with our stakeholders suitable Government Health Centers to deploy our five midwives who will graduate in June 2017.

Addis – On arrival in Addis we were met by Ahmed and taken to MSD’s office for a general discussion on the project and an update on our 4×4. Things are progressing well with the vehicle, with an advertisement for a driver will be posted shortly.

Ahmed had presented our SMMMS project to a meeting of The Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Association consisting of 500+ Ethiopian NGO’s and we were voted among the top 20 NGO’s. SMMMS will now go forward with the other 19 to be whittled down to the top 10. If successful the judges will visit the project and finally arrive at a winning NGO. Fingers crossed.

Gondar – Meeting with Getachew from the Department of Finance and Economic Development.

A general discussion surrounding our project and procedural arrangements.

Our 5 year agreement with the Government expires at the end of 2017. Getachew will organize an appraisal of our project prior to renewal which we fully support.

Graduation of our 2 BSc midwives from the Hamlin, which are now in the Adi Arkay Health Centre and plans for the graduation and deployment of our other midwives.

Gondar University – Department of Midwifery

Visited the Gondar University and the Midwifery Department and met with the Dean of the Department. We discussed the progress of our students and our plans for after they graduate.

Debark – Travelled to Debark with Ahmed and Melkamu

Visited Debark Hospital to give the medical equipment we had bought for them. Discussed the deployment of our midwives and a general agreement on the possible health centers for them to be deployed. Dr. Shegaw kindly agreed to join us to inspect the health centers.

Drove into the mountains to re-inspect the Health Centre at Chiro Leba with Dr. Shegaw which was in poor condition during our last visit. The present head of the health center seemed more engaged but due to the upheaval a lot of staff had left including the cleaners so he was having to clean among his other duties and was in need of a pharmacist, laboratory technician and cleaners. Despite this the health center was cleaner and the midwives now just doing midwifery duties. We decided that we should support the health officer and the health center to improve the facilities.

Visited Beyeda health center as a possibility for our midwives. Beyeda had a good reputation so we were surprised to find a health centre not very clean and rather disorganized. Apparently, the head of the health center had changed recently.

Visited our 2 midwives in Adi-Arkay (picture of delivery room below). What a difference – clean and well run and had a tour of the midwifery department by Aden and Malefia. We were invited to a wonderful coffee ceremony attended by all the staff. We left some sets of baby clothes for newborn babies.IMG_0065

Back in Debark we visited the Park HQ and renewed our acquaintance with the Head of the park and tourist officer. Discussed Peter’s ideas for the introduction and local production of the SaddleAid saddles.

Debark and the Simiens

Wendy returned to Debark (after Brian flew home) and to the Simiens to inspect another health center and a new hospital at Dilibza plus our clinic at Keyit with Hawlt and Melkamu.

We finally arrived at Dilibza after 8 hours of bumpy roads and having a tire cut up by sharp rocks! We went to see the Woreda Chairman and Woreda health officer to discuss the deployment of our midwives. Despite a general push by some of our other stake holders for our new midwives to be deployed at the new hospital they confirmed that they already have sufficient midwives at the hospital but instead were in need of midwives in their health center. We visited and inspected the midwifery department and again found it was in need of cleaning and painting. The Woreda Health officer agreed the need of general improvements and would consider painting and a general clean.

Visited our clinic at Keyit which was clean and our midwife Addis was in the middle of an ante-natal and family planning clinic which seemed to be well organized. The ladies confirmed that they liked the care given and this reflects in the increased number of ante-natal, deliveries and post-natal care.

Distributed the lovely children’s hats that Marcus’s grandmother and her friends knitted which were well received. Walking back to the village we were invited to a wedding celebration and generally thanked for our good work and support of the community and blessed by a local mobile priest!


A good visit overall and with the help of our partners, MSD, our vision for the project is finally reaching fruition and is very exciting. We now have our nurses, health extension workers and the Government Health Centers all working together to give good medical care to the people of the Simiens. The Health centers provide our nurses with delivery packs, vaccines, family planning items, HIV and Malarial testing kits. On our side our mobile nurses work closely with the health officers for direction and supervision and use the same reporting procedures as the Government nurses.

Our nurse in Tellempt, a very remote area on the fringes of The Simiens which is very rocky, arid and in areas affected by the drought and malaria is working closely with Concern International, a leading International NGO working in nutrition to identify malnourished children and setting up feeding centers. In the last quarter nearly 1000 children were identified and in treatment.

We have already deployed our first 2 midwives successfully to Adi Arkay health center. We have another 5 graduating in June 2017 with 7 in 2018 which will be deployed around the 5 Woreda’s on The Simien Mountains.

It has been a long time coming but finally the Government is seeing the full benefits of our programme and is actively supporting us by improving the Health Centers in the mountains and facilitating the exchange of supplies and information.

Lastly our mobile nurses need a big thank you for all their hard work in very difficult terrain. They sleep in schools, churches, tents and health posts while on their rounds and are held in great esteem by their patients and are making a measureable difference to the health of the population.

Next visit – We will go back May/June time frame to re- inspect the health centers and make a final decision on deployment of the midwives in July 2017 together with our stake holders. We will also visit other Health Centers for our 7 Midwives graduating in 2018.