There’s a special place in my heart for fistula surgeons.
These dedicated and soulful doctors have skills to save and transform lives and could work anywhere in the world, yet they choose to work in some of the poorest places on earth, serving the least empowered people on the planet – women with obstetric fistula.
The problem is there are far too few of these inspiring people to meet the profound need we know exists for skilled providers.
Earlier this month I attended a key meeting sponsored by our steadfast partner Johnson & Johnson at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Scotland.
I met with other leaders in fistula treatment to address this surgeon shortage and other constraints to helping more women receive life-transforming care.
People tell me all the time they think fistula operations are easy. It just isn’t true. While the good news is 90% of the time they are successful, the bad news is that those high success rates occur when patients are in expert hands.
One critical step toward fistula eradication is to train more doctors to do not just the easier cases but the intermediate and advanced cases too.
During the last two months, thanks to your support, we’ve funded two expert fistula surgeons, Dr. Mulu Muleta and Dr. Steven Arrowsmith to travel to two of our grantee hospitals in Bangladesh and Angola to do advanced training there.
Next month we’ll be opening a new surgeon training and treatment facility at Gondar University in Northern Ethiopia, in partnership with Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
We have a long way to go, but we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our heroes – the doctors on the front lines of care, and their courageous patients – get the resources they need. Your generosity makes this possible.
Reported by Kate Grant, Executive Director, The Fistula Foundation.