On the Coast – Over 55 Issue 26 I November/December 2018 - Page 8

From here to maternity Coastie doctor saves 10,000 women Fistula patients Sth Sudan O ld friends  know him simply as “AB” but for more than 10,000 women in Africa, Dr Andrew Browning is a lionheart of the highest order.  Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Browning has spent two decades living and working as a missionary doctor, fighting the silent tragedy of fistulas in childbirth. “Fistulas develop when a lady goes into labour and the baby becomes trapped in the birth canal,” says Dr Browning. “The labour sometimes lasts 7 to 10 days, and she is left alone in a remote village with no medical attention. “She will usually give birth to a stillborn; will probably become unconscious and when she wakes much of her uterus, bladder and bowel may be destroyed, leaving a fistula – or hole – between the bladder and birth canal and sometimes the bowel and birth canal. “She is often shunned by her family and divorced by her husband due to the 8 S E NI O R S O N T H E C OAS T intolerable smell of leaking body fluids. “If she survives – and most don’t – she may be left to spend the rest of her life isolated in a hut.”  Dr Browning recalled one horrific case during the war in the Congo in 2003, when a woman was raped by 10 soldiers, her belly cut open and her baby ripped from inside her and then left for dead. The baby died but remarkably the woman was found and saved. “During the war children as young as 3 were also frequently raped. These children were left with devastating injuries and robbed of their childhood.” But amidst this unimaginable horror, Andrew and his Aunty Valerie Browning Arial shot of the new hospital, Tanzania Miraculously cured pt Tanzania