Vision Maternity Care Hospital, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

In 2012, wishing to build on the success of the previous partnerships with Dr Andrew Browning in the region, the Amhara Health Bureau (Ethiopia) gave Andrew a health centre in the middle of Barhirdar city to convert into a maternity hospital, now operating as the Vision Maternity Care Hospital (VMC) and run by a local Board of Directors.

The conversion of the original, rundown centre (originally a cow shed!), the operational expenses of the interim centre and the building of the new hospital on the current site are funded by the BMF.

The unit offers free maternal healthcare for poor women and those from remote and rural areas, regardless of race or religion. At the official launch of the centre in September 2013, both the vice president of the Amhara region and deputy head of the Regional Health Bureau publically stated VMC is the safest unit in the region in which to have a baby. This is a significant accolade for an NGO working in Ethiopia and demonstrates the success of the partnership and importantly, an acceptance of the model by the authorities.

At the request of the Health Bureau, the new hospital will become the regional training centre for emergency obstetric care (EmOC), and the Hamlin College of Midwives is now sending their students to VMC for their clinical placements.


“Hello Dave I’m in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, as part of a project to install 14 UAMs (anaesthetic machines made specifically for tropical third world countries) across the country in a US AID-funded program to strengthen surgery in smaller hospitals. During some downtime I visited the Vision Maternity Care Clinic, a project affiliated with Dr Andrew Browning and the Barbara May Foundation. I believe you were involved in the funding of this UAM. I brought our biomedical engineer to check on the machine and make sure they were happy. I’m pleased to report that the machine is in pristine condition, that the facility itself appears to be well run and effective, and that the program they have created has had a significant clinical impact for women from an underserved part of the country. I met with Mr. Birhanu Menber, the Administrator for the clinic. They have accomplished a lot in the short time the clinic has been open. I was very impressed. I thought you’d like to know that this site is living up to the trust you put into it. My favourite part was seeing their transformation of the UAM’s packaging crate into a lockable storage closet for operating theatre supplies. I may redesign our crate to make that easier for others. Best regards”

Stephen Rudy
CEO Gradian Health Systems

How can you help?

Programmes supported wholly or in part by the Barbara May Foundation include:

. The building and operations of the Vision Maternity Care Hospital in Barhirdar, Ethiopia.
. The operations of the Barbara May Maternity Hospital in Mille, Ethiopia.
. Kivulini Maternity Centre – Maternity Africa, Tanzania. This centre provides obstetric services and an extensive fistula repair programme which includes significant outreach programmes.
. Tertiary education of local medical professionals.