An estimated 250 women will be able to receive life-changing obstetric fistula repair surgery over the next 12 months at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone – one of Direct Relief’s newest partners – with help from a recent shipment of medicines and supplies.
The Aberdeen Women’s Centre (AWC) is the only facility in the country that is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for women living with obstetric fistula, one of the most devastating injuries that women can suffer during childbirth.
Their first-ever Direct Relief donation included many of the items that Aberdeen Women’s Centre requires on a daily basis to provide high-quality surgical care, including sutures and catheters, syringes and needles, pain medication, antibiotics, infection control supplies, and incontinence products.
“The supplies and drugs from Direct Relief are of superior quality and came in at a time they were really needed,” said Samuel Munywoki, the Fistula Program Manager at AWC.
“Some of the drugs have been very difficult for us to get in the past but are important for fistula cases. These drugs and medical supplies have and will continue to contribute to the success of the project particularly the fistula ward and operating theatre. It is a big gift. Thank you for your kind donation to Sierra Leone and Aberdeen Women’s Centre.”
Since the facility was founded in 2005 by Mercy Ships, it has provided life-restoring fistula repair to over 2,000 women. The facility is now managed by the Gloag Foundation. In 2012 alone, more than 220 women received life-restoring fistula repair surgery.
Beyond ensuring high quality surgical treatment, Aberdeen also runs a maternity clinic to care for women during pregnancy and childbirth in order to prevent fistula and reduce maternal mortality. Last year, 1,093 babies were safely delivered at the facility.
But Aberdeen Women’s Centre provides more than just medical care. It’s a place of hope and happiness for many women who suffer from fistula.
Samuel Munywoki explained, “The women come here and are very down and depressed, but when they come here they are appreciated, they are given clean clothes, and they meet a whole group of women with the same problem and they come to know that they were not the only one. They see those that are happy. They feel at home after suffering for some time. After repair we give them a new dress and then we sing and dance, we have a “Glady Glady” so they feel honored. When they are dry they want to go home and tell their villages ‘now I’m dry, I’m different, and I have a new life.”