May God bless your effort!
#1 Natasa (Homepage) on 2009-10-20 11:34
Got this documentary at my local library - you're right, astonishing, sad and hopeful.
I so look forward to your posts - I was thinking if I was forced to limit my reader to 5 blogs a day you would be non-negotiable!
#2 Deborah on 2009-10-20 18:18
It's stories like this that make me angry all over again at people who take our high quality of life for granted.

I know women who have had home births, with no doctors, and women who have had to have C-sections, and women who gave birth naturally BUT DIDN'T WANT TO, and I think of the arguing and the judging that goes on amongst women in our society - people hinting that if you don't "go natural" then you're harming your baby with unnatural drugs, or claiming that a home is the proper place for a baby to be born, not a hospital. Some women even indicate that going to a hospital is harmful, and that THEY would NEVER give birth in such a place.

Women should make the decisions that feel right for them, but I think too many women in the Western world forget that birth can be a dangerous and deadly event. It is painful, difficult, brutal. Before pain killers, before fetal heart rate monitors, before antibiotics, birth was something to simply survive, not to make elaborate "birth plans" about.

We are spoiled to the point where we no longer view birth as a risky thing. A smörgåsbord of choice lies before us.

How lucky are we, that women can forget this?
#3 Carol (Homepage) on 2009-10-20 22:06
We do these at the hospital here, too, and it's so wonderful! Have you read "The Hospital by the River"? It's written by Catherine Hamlin, one of the OB's who started the fistula hospital in Addis. I have a copy of it that I'm happy to send to you if you want. I do want it back, but it's certainly worth the read. Let me know and I'll get it to you :-) Bless you, Ali!
#4 Sophie (Homepage) on 2009-10-21 01:36
Hi Soph!

I think we have it in our library here ... let me check before I have you sending books all over Africa. =) I've heard of it though, and I keep meaning to read it.
#4.1 Ali C. (Homepage) on 2009-10-21 01:40
I really enjoy your blog, and think it's wonderful that the Mercy ships are there providing at least some people with medical care in areas where there isn't otherwise any available. I have four kids kids, and needed a c-section with third as the cord was around his neck. Our fourth daughter has a lot of medical issues; she had surgery for a duodenal atresia when she was two days old, and just came home Monday after having heart surgery. It kind of freaks me out to know that if she had happened to be born in Africa rather than the US, she would never have had a chance to die from her heart problem, as the intestinal blockage would have killed her within a few days. So I thank God everyday that we have medical care available to us! It's just a shame that the whole world doesn't in this day & age.
#4.1.1 Sigrunc on 2009-10-21 11:45
thanks for your post and the work you do. a good friend of mine actually started the fistula clinic in freetown, sierra leone with mercy ships. the work they do in women's lives there is amazing.
#5 wjcollier3 (Homepage) on 2009-10-22 20:36
Two questions:

how many people were screened on the ship before selection?

Why doesnt anyone threaten to castrate men with money unless they give a billion or do dollars toward building a ship dedicated solely to women's medicine?
#6 mercutio (Homepage) on 2009-11-07 22:34
Two answers (albeit not great ones):

1. I'm not sure how many were screened this time. There was a combination of screening at the ship and screening done by local doctors up north who then sent the ladies to us, so there's no way of knowing how many they saw before they sent what they thought were the best candidates.

2. I hadn't thought of that tactic specifically, but the idea of a ship dedicated solely to women's medicine? That's an awesome idea. Now to find some super-rich men .... =) It's hard, honestly, knowing that we're just one ship, that the need is so great and that we have to spread out the types of surgeries that we do so that a wide variety of people can be helped. It's always heartbreaking knowing that you're leaving so many behind.
#6.1 Ali C. on 2009-11-08 04:03
I am greatly moved and touched by your blog. The stories are life changing, and I'm so glad you are sharing them. I toured a Mercy Ship as a teenager and always marvelled at the amazing choice people made to join the ministry. I relation to this saddening post on treating women with fistulas, I was just wondering; How many of these VVF women develop fistulas due to female circumcism? Is it a deciding factor,or are these women fine, but have birth complications due to poor medical help during birthing? Just interested in how much this horrid practice has a bearing on childbirth?
Blessings on your work and your faith! xxxooo
#7 Jude on 2013-10-24 08:59
We actually don't see much female genital mutilation in the countries where we work. I believe (but don't quote me, because I don't actually know this for sure) that it's more of an issue in Eastern and Northern Africa. The majority of our VVF ladies come to us because of obstructed labours, often because they were malnourished as children leading to smaller frames or due to them getting pregnant at very young ages. We see some complications from crude medical care (improper use of forceps, for example) as well, but really the vast majority are women whose babies got stuck and they were unable to have the c-section that almost surely would have saved the baby and prevented the problem, either because they couldn't reach a hospital or couldn't afford the fees. It's so tragic.
#7.1 Ali C. on 2013-10-24 18:26
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