Guest Blog by Dr. Itengre Ouedraogo, DFC’s Chief Medical Officer
It’s a good day when I can share the joy of my patients.
Amagadas Habsou is a Touareg woman from Tahoua, around 350 km from Maradi. She got married when she was 17 years old and got pregnant at the same age. After seven days of labor, she delivered a stillbirth at home and suffered her fistula. Her husband divorced her and since then she had been living in her village without any hope of being healed — for 40 years.
Betty (far right) leads survivors in a cultural dance to promote fistula awareness and social reintegration.
Ever wonder what it’s like going house-to-house in rural villages, searching for women who need fistula treatment? Betty Awici is a volunteer through WFF’s partner TERREWODE. Betty and her fellow volunteers help to identify those affected with fistula, give them access to quality care, and socially reintegrate them into their communities.
In this interview, Betty shares with us her experience helping women in Uganda:
Rahel Nardos, MD
Guest Blog by Dr. Rahel Nardos, MD, WFF Board Member
One at a time, the women walked into the operating room with their IV bags in their hands. If they were anxious or afraid, their stoic faces did not show it. Faithfully, each woman leaned her head against one of ours as our anesthesiologist placed a spinal anesthesia that would allow her to have her surgery without pain. It is impossible not to appreciate their vulnerability and be humbled by the level of trust that these women placed in our team. They did not speak our language, most had no education, and none had the opportunity to build a doctor-patient relationship over a period of time. They saw this as their only opportunity for healing:
International Women’s Initiative (IWI) recently interviewed WFF Executive Director Maureen Powers for their Women with Initiative blog and we learned of their new Safe Birthing Program in Northern Uganda. WFF works in Soroti, Uganda, to prevent and treat the devastating childbirth injury obstetric fistula. We welcome IWI’s efforts to improve the safety of childbirth which can help prevent injuries like obstetric fistula.
Guest Blog by Loran Hollander, PT, WFF Rehabilitation Advisory Council
We medical professionals pore over clinical patient data looking for factors correlating to better recovery outcomes. I think we don’t always give enough attention to one factor that we can’t find in the data: helping the patient overcome their own fear during recovery.
My trip last November to Danja Fistula Center on behalf of Worldwide Fistula Fund’s Rehabilitation Advisory Council with Dr. Cambey Mikush bore this out. I learned a great deal by interviewing the women directly.
Guest Blog by Dr. Cambey Mikush
I am Cambey Mikush, a recent graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a doctorate in Occupational Therapy. I became aware of the devastation that is inflicted on women with obstetric fistula right before starting my graduate program in 2010. The more I learned, the more it became clear to me that women with obstetric fistula were experiencing a sudden and significant change in their ability to participate in their daily activities. Read More
The Worldwide Fistula Fund is sad to note the passing of Dr. Leonard Wall. Dr. Wall was the father of the WFF’s founder Dr. Lewis Wall and WFF’s current treasurer Dr. Terry Wall. In his memory, WFF has established the Dr. Leonard Wall Memorial Fund. Dr. Leonard Wall was a long time advocate for women around the world and a tireless supporter of the Worldwide Fistula Fund.
The international community is increasingly using a designated ‘day’ to highlight issues that need greater global attention. Two of these days had particular resonance for us here at the Worldwide Fistula Fund-International Day of the Girl – October 11th, and The World Food Day – October 16th.
As schools start and vacations end, Labor Day draws a close to summer and welcomes in fall, while Rosh Hashanah ushers in a new year. The beginning of fall is the traditional time to say goodbye to the laid-back pace of summer, and kick off a new beginning. As an organization, WFF works throughout the year to bring new beginnings to women across Africa who, for some, have spent years of their lives battling the stigmatisms associated with having Obstetric Fistula.
Photo Courtesy of Fistula Care/EngenderHealth
It is with great sadness that Worldwide Fistula Fund has learned of the death of Dr. John Kelly, who had been, for so many years, a storied champion in the battle against obstetric fistula in the developing world. His commitment began in 1967 when he traveled to a hospital in rural Nigeria, where he preformed his first fistula surgery. Since that first surgery, Dr. Kelly provided care to over 9,000 women. After retiring from his practice in England, Dr. Kelly devoted nine months of the year to fistula surgery and traveled to some of the poorest countries to provide fistula care, including Sudan, Pakistan, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and many more. For the women he helped, he offered the opportunity to rebuild their lives free of the difficulties and stigma that having a fistula can bring. His surgical work ethic and stamina were utterly remarkable.
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