If Mary had worked for days

What if Mary, the mother of Jesus, had worked for several days? His body was that of a young teenager. If she had worked 72 hours or more, she could have developed a vesicovaginal fistula (VVF), a hole between her vagina and her bladder and possibly her rectum.

VFV occurs when the baby rubs the mother’s sensitive tissues for a long time – for example during labor – and creates a hole through which urine and waste products escape after birth. If the surgery is not finished, young mothers with a constant, embarrassing smell will remain incontinent and become outcasts.

Tragically, over 70% of women with VF have stillbirths. Your young bodies are not mature enough to properly evacuate the baby. Women are often infertile and cannot have sex, which leads men to divorce. Most families will not take the girl back, so she is young and lonely.

This health problem is at high risk in poor countries in Africa, Asia and some Arab countries. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 2 million 9-year-old women have RVV, with 50,000 to 100,000 new cases occurring each year.

Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, Mission Urologist and VVF Program Director for Mercy Ships, estimates that the number of fistula patients, according to Christianity Today, December 2005, “is significantly higher due to virtually non-existent records.”

Through volunteering, however, this archaic situation of poor young women is helped.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the success rate of fistula repair is due to experienced surgeons like Dr. Catherine Hamlin and her late husband Reginald, co-founder of the hospital, to 90% of Addis Ababa fistula in Ethiopia. .

The Hamlins began their work fifty years ago in Ethiopia, Africa. From Sydney, Australia, the two young gynecologists moved to Addis Ababa in 1959. They found that the poor country had no resources for pregnant women.

A friend of a doctor visited them and told them about VVR, which the young couple had never heard of. No wonder since the last American fistula hospital was closed in 1895.

The Hamlins developed a surgical technique and treated more than 30 patients in the first year. Over the next ten years, they built a fistula hospital through a military coup. The hospital opened in 1974 and is still the only medical center in the world dedicated exclusively to fistula repair. It is also an important training center for fistula repair.

Dr. Catherine Hamlin, now 80, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and continues to oversee hospital work. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2004 United Nations People’s Prize.

Last year, Oprah Dr. Hamlin featured on her TV show. Viewers responded with over $ 3 million.

Last month, Oprah returned to the fistula hospital and raised over millions of dollars for her work. With their financial support, Joy Village, a small community led by Dr. Hamlin for Unhealed Women was founded to include new buildings. Classrooms, dormitories for waiting patients, examination rooms and an apartment for emergency doctors. Maybe a school.

Desta Mender (“Village of Joy” in Amharic) has 31 women whose fistulas could not be repaired. They were equipped with colostomy bags. They live peacefully in beautiful surroundings and regain their dignity by working on the farm, tending to the farms, making and selling embroidery and crafts.

In another part of Africa, Dr. Carolyn Kirschner, a gynecological oncologist who now works at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, and her husband, Dr. Greg Kirschner, seven years as Missionaries on Mission (SIM) at the Evangel VVF Center . connected to Evangel Hospital in Jos, Nigeria. Dr. Arrowsmith founded the hospital with fifty beds. The clinic performs 350 free surgeries per year, mostly on women.

Sometimes doctors find it necessary to do more than one operation to repair some women’s wounds. Complicated procedures can take five or six operations, some of which take eight hours.

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