Special Guest at our August Meeting
We welcomed Dr Barbara Hall at our August meeting, and the members and six guests who attended have provided very positive feedback about her informative and inspiring presentation.
Dr Hall, a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists since 1987, ‘retired’ in 2013. But with her husband, Dr John Taylor, a retired general practitioner, Dr Hall has been doing voluntary gynaecological surgical work in Uganda, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal – having now completed 28 trips since March 2013. The work in Uganda is surgery for utero-vaginal prolapses and obstetric fistulas, and in the other countries, training gynaecologists in pelvic floor surgery. Dr Taylor trains the local nurses in post-operative care. They self-fund their work in Uganda, Cambodia and Myanmar, and fund-raise to pay the hospitals for the operations we perform. Their work in Nepal and Bangladesh is funded by the DAK foundation.
Dr Hall focused on the work she has been doing in Uganda, working with Professor Judith Goh and Dr Hannah Krause. She explained the predisposing factors for fistula and prolapse, and the debilitating physical and social complications for these women. She reported an estimated 200,000 women living with fistula, and 4,500 new fistulae / year. With local nursing staff now completing the screening process, Dr Hall performs 120 operations in each clinic trip. Additional services which she has been able to implement, include midwife training, and training in obstetric ultrasound. She also proudly reported that she has been able to source equipment and resources that women have needed (e.g. wheelchairs, clothes, 1kg bar of soap).
Dr Hall was humble about all she is achieving, and we were inspired by her dedication and humane understanding of these women’s needs.
Further information about her work can be sourced: https://stories.uq.edu.au/medicine/changing-lives-around-world/index.html
As members of Zonta International, we are aware of our Eliminating Obstetric Fistula in Liberia project (2008 – 2018). Since 2008, Zonta International has provided US$2,550,000 to UNFPA to support the Liberia Fistula Project. More than 1,000 women and adolescent girls received treatment and more than 200 fistula survivors completed the rehabilitation program and were successfully reintegrated into their communities. (Source: https://foundation.zonta.org/LiberiaFistula ). Hearing Dr Hall, and seeing her slides, helped us understand and appreciate the importance of this Zonta International project.