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WHH serves women in underserved areas worldwide. WHH is traveling this Spring to Sierra Leone, partnering with Dr. Maggi – founder of the West Africa Fistula Foundation. Sierra Leone, is one of the most dangerous places on earth to give birth, infant mortality and maternal deaths among the highest in the world. Sierra Leone, a country of about 6 million has only 1 OB/GYN. Women spend from 2 -15 days in labor – no midwife – no Cesarean childbirth; causing obstetric fistula to become inevitable.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
In Sierra Leone, a shocking 1 out of 7 die during childbirth. Women who survive suffer unimaginably; effects that can include nerve damage preventing women walking and kidney diseases that lead to death if untreated; or, they endure obstetric fistulas that leave them incontinent, trickling urine and sometimes feces through the vagina. They are shunned by the community, ostracized by their husbands, discarded by their families as human debris and abandoned to fend for themselves, often to die.
How will this project solve this problem?
This cause is very compelling – WHH teaming with Dr. Maggi on a medical mission Spring 2014, will treat women suffering with obstetric fistula – a devastating complication of delivery affecting the poorest women around the world. To provide obstetric fistula surgery, a woman needs to be housed about 6 months, provided meals and vitamins to ensure a strong body before surgery and monitored to be sure she heals after surgery. Training midwives to assist in delivery is an essential for prevention!
Potential Long Term Impact
WHH partnering with the West Africa Fistula Foundation to perform fistula surgery will literally save the lives of hundreds of the most vulnerable Sierra Leone women and their unborn babies; restore them to physical, mental and emotional health, deliver them from rejection and isolation, return them to their families, empower the women to lift themselves – transforming their lives. Training midwives to prevent delivery complications is the critical step to stem the tide of obstetric fistulas.