A PROJECT run by Abergavenny midwives which seeks to train new ones in Ethiopia has been given a funding boost by the Welsh Government.

Midwives@ ethiopia will be given £9,000 as part of the Wales for Africa Health Links grant scheme.

The group is composed of five midwives based at Nevill Hall Hospital who set up the charity together.

On their trips to Africa, they look to train 100 to 200 midwives at a time and then ask their pupils to commit to passing on skills to others so the charity’s impact is felt once they are back in Wales.

Emma Mills, from midwives@ethiopia, said: “We are extremely grateful for the grant from the Welsh Government and also for the ongoing help and support provided.

"We are a small charity made up only of volunteers but with the help of fundraising and grants, we are able to see the huge impact we are making to the lives of women, babies and their families in southern Ethiopia. Funding directly reduces maternal mortality by providing essential training to midwives and health extension workers at a local level and in partnership with colleagues in Ethiopia.

"At midwives@ethiopia we believe every woman worldwide should be able to give birth safely and without fear, and no child should lose his/her mother in childbirth.

“Funding from the Welsh Government means that midwives@ethiopia can offer opportunities to Welsh health professionals and students to travel with the established charity to learn new skills that in turn means they can offer more holistic care to the Welsh people.”

The money will be spent on improving maternity care for mothers and babies and work with the Ethiopian Midwives Association to develop programmes for midwives.

Midwives@ethiopia will receive the money from a £100,000 charity pot that will also be split between nine other charities.

And the charity has been backed by First Minister Carwyn Jones. He said: “The health projects supported by Wales for Africa are having life changing effects. I visited Africa earlier this year and saw for myself just how valuable the knowledge and skills of our health volunteers are in helping to improve conditions and life-chances.

"My visit was inspiring and showed just how much can be achieved through joint working. The latest round of funding means we can continue this good work and make a real and lasting difference.”

Ethiopia has an appalling rate of maternal death, with 561 women dying for every 100,000 live births. As well as that, if a mother dies in childbirth, in Ethiopia,the rest of her children generally die within a year.