Date of release: Thursday, April 2, 2015

Could you raise £2000 to train midwives in Ethiopia?

Probably the last thing on your list would be a 400 mile bike ride at high altitude in searing heat! But this is what Dr Bettina Karsten, senior lecturer in physiology in the Faculty of Engineering & Science will be aiming to complete this May . She calls it an 'endurance ride' and will be leading a team of 10 cyclists from the UK on a 12 day ride from Addis Ababa to Glimbie. Each cyclist will need to raise at least £1500 to be part of the team. Their aim is to ride 5-6 hours every day, over undulating altitude terrain with temperatures reaching up to 30oC.

Asked why she was taking on such a challenge, Bettina replied ' my neighbour is  gynaecologist who runs a charity called Maternity Worldwide. When I heard that every year across the world 287,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth over 99% of which are in developing countries. That's one mother dying every 2 minutes, 800 each day. These women do not need to suffer and die; most lives could be saved relatively easily and cheaply. Many mothers die as a result of conditions which would be treated routinely in other parts of the world, for example complications from high blood pressure, hemorrhages and infection. I am really pleased to be given the opportunity to support it'.

Bettina has already started raising money by offering fitness testing to cyclists in Brighton and tested for example Tim Woodman, a world class triathlete.  The University of Greenwich is also supporting this event by allowing Bettina to use highly specialised equipment from the Centre for Sports Science & Human Performance, Faculty of Engineering and Science at Medway. With this and other fund raising events, Bettina is hoping to raise over £2000 to donate to this worthwhile charity, Maternity Worldwide (

You can support Bettina by donating here:

All monies raised will be used to train Ethiopian midwives, improve transport networks and educate pregnant women for safer deliveries and reduce the number of mothers dying during childbirth. Bettina would like to thank the University and you for any support in making this possible.