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Loran Hollander.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.

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African FlowersGuest 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.

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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.

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538_3858857 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.

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Dr. John Kelly

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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Thanks to all the work and incredible generosity from all our supporters, Worldwide Fistula Fund was able to realize a dream last year in the opening of the Danja Fistula Center in Niger. Several years ago Nicholas D. Kristof first wrote about Worldwide Fistula Fund and recently returned to the center to write a new op-ed for his column in the New York Times.

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One of the most devastating aspects of fistula for women is the social isolation that often comes with the injury, coupled with a loss of financial support from family. Often, we hear of women coping with this injury who have been sent away from their family, and who must suddenly find a way to support themselves removed from traditional support systems.

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Spring, with its promise of renewal, is not only a good time to appreciate the ways in which Worldwide Fistula Foundation (WFF) works to help women suffering from fistula, but also a time to celebrate the women who have suffered and can now return home fistula free. At the Danja Fistula Center in Niger, we are working hard to give as many women as we can the celebration of spring and rebirth, because this is a duty we must give every woman regardless of wealth, race or social standing. Our goal is not only to repair a fistula but to restore a woman’s spirit when it has been cruelly taken from her.

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The most obvious work we do at the Danja Fistula Center is to offer free and life-changing surgeries to women suffering from obstetric fistula. But our work extends far beyond the transformations that begin inside our operating rooms. We have five pillars of care — some of which we’ve written about before — and those include surgical care, training, fistula prevention, research, and social reintegration.

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