Keys, Lipstick and a Voice

HEAL Africa Hospital Democratic Republic of Congo
Photo Credit: Loran Hollander

National Health Blog Post Month, Day 4 – Sunday, Nov. 4 “Write about what’s in your bag / purse / backpack every day”

Aside from the basics and a few girly staples, one thing that I always make sure to have in my bag is Women’s ACTION Initiative information. Why? Because I need to work at building awareness, making connections and finding funding at the drop of a hat. These women deserve it:

How would you react if a friend relayed she was in labor for seven days, her baby died in her womb during birth, and now she has fecal and urinary incontinence? No, this type of thing doesn’t occur in the US anymore thankfully, but there are millions of women suffering from obstetric fistula in the Democratic Republic of Congo and throughout the developing world. An obstetric fistula occurs between the vagina and bladder, the vagina and rectum, or both, causing leakage between the tissue and results in incontinence (the inability to control the flow of either urine or feces). Either a small pelvis or malpositioning of the baby within the uterus can predispose a woman to obstetric fistula if adequate medical care during her labor is not available. Women with fistula are often ridiculed for smelling of urine and feces, are abandoned by their families and husbands, must grieve the death of the baby lost in childbirth and are doing so without means to provide necessary housing and food for themselves and any surviving children for whom they are responsible. But we’re going to help.

Myself, two amazing women’s health physical therapists and a top-notch urogyn surgeon will be returning to Goma Democratic Republic of Congo in February to continue work treating and rehabilitating women so they can get back to living,  and also train local care providers, enabling them with the skills and tools to continue the vital initiative. So I carry my business cards and my WAI information on me at all times because in order for this trip to take place (and others moving forward), we need to connect with people who are willing to stand up and financially support well-planned projects like this one.

Thanks to We Go Health for putting down the challenge of 30 in 30 for National Health Blog Post month!

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