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Be Twice the Doctor

Providing lifesaving maternal healthcare & fistula repair in regional and remote Africa

Around the world, approximately 800 women die every day from birth-related injuries such as fistula. More than half of these are in sub-Saharan Africa. The Barbara May Foundation funds projects that provide dignity and safety for underprivileged women in birth.

Established in 2009, the Barbara May Foundation (BMF) provides funding to Australian medical professionals Valerie Browning AM and Dr Andrew Browning AM. Running projects in regional and remote Africa (Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Sudan) that relieve the high incidence of death and extreme injury such as fistula in pregnancy and childbirth. They provide safety, dignity and hope. Maternal healthcare and medical services are provided at no cost, regardless of race or religion.

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Great Christmas Gift ideas! A Doctor in Africa and/or Maalika: My life among Afar Nomads of Africa. Not only are they fabulous reads, but also the royalties from sales go directly to the Barbara may Foundation.

A Doctor in Africa – an inspiring story of Andrew Browning’s work in the remote and vastly under-resourced regions of East Africa with under-privileged women. $34.99 through all good book stores, online or through the Foundation.

Maalika My life among Afar Nomads of Africa - In one of the most inhospitable landscapes on earth, Valerie Browning and her husband Ismael continue to wage an incredible struggle, bringing health and education to a people who would otherwise have nothing. Valerie's story is an astonishing adventure and a testament to how determination and passion can achieve extraordinary things. Order link in bio.
#savethemothersavetheworld #barbaramayfoundation #savethemothersavetheworld #barbaramayfoundation #Christmasgifts2021

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The lucky recipients of our May 2021 Melbourne fundraiser auction prize of the ‘Dinner for Eight’ finally got to enjoy their prize after the recent lifting of COVID restrictions. At the home of great Barbara May Foundation supporter, Dr Jenny Wood, the lovely menu was sourced and prepared by talented amateur chef Steve Rockman and his trusty sous, Carole Alt. A huge thank you to them both for this unique and generous way to support the work of the Foundation and the women we serve. A wonderful evening was had by all! #savethemothersavetheworld #safebirth #fistularepair #eastafrica ...

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Agnes suffered a fistula and shares her story here about the feelings of depression, loneliness and despair before her life-changing procedure. The Barbara May Foundation funds maternal health surgeries in remote Africa that allow women to return to their communities with new health and restored dignity. You can help women like Agnes by visiting
#savethemothersavetheworld #barbaramayfoundation #fistula #fistularepairoperations #maternalhealth

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Agong Alembany is pictured here on the left with Noela, our Tanzanian fistula nurse. Agong was the first patient we ever treated in Juba. She had been living in misery with a fistula in rural South Sudan for three years, after enduring a four day labour at home and delivering a stillborn child.
Eventually she attended the main government hospital of South Sudan for a fistula operation which was unsuccessful. She then came to the BMF-partner unit in 2018 where she was successfully cured. Agong returned home and remarried, became pregnant soon after, and went into labour at home. She didn’t get to a hospital for two days, but made it in time for a caesarean to save the baby’s life, but the fistula recurred because of the long labour. Sadly the baby died at age three months from fevers. Agong returned to us for her second fistula repair and she is well on the way to being cured again. We pray that the next time she gets pregnant she can attend a hospital until labour starts and experience a safe delivery without injury. #fistula #safebirth #dignity #southsudan #africa

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Thank-you! In spite of many difficulties, the Foundation experienced solid donor growth which included special donations to supply food for pregnant women in The Afar where drought, locusts and the influx of refugees from neighbouring provinces resulted in many pregnant women presenting malnourished.
Over the year, the BMF-funded hospitals in Africa continued to operate efficiently without volunteers thanks to local doctors and midwives trained in past years. While Andrew was able to visit Africa twice, it was encouraging that modern technology allowed him to provide fistula surgery advice and hospital operations from Australia. However, it will be good to have volunteers back in Africa when the COVID-19 threat has abated.
Read the full annual report here:
#savethemothersavetheworld #barbaramayfoundation #safebirth #fistula #fistularepairoperations #maternalhealth

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Annette is only 17-years-old. At 13 she became pregnant going into labour in her remote village. With her baby stuck in the birth canal and Annette in a critical condition, she was finally transferred to a hospital after four days of agonising labour. A caesarean was performed but it was too late - her baby had died and she had a large fistula. In addition, the nerves to her legs were damaged and she was unable to walk. Returning to her village, she lay in her hut leaking urine for two years. In appalling physical and mental condition Annette was located by an outreach team and brought to a fistula hospital; it took 65 days of care before she was even strong enough to undergo an operation. Dr Andrew Browning did a difficult operation on her in 2019 – the fistula was closed but she still leaked urine. She later returned to the hospital with a large bladder stone, which was removed. Andrew was able to operate on Annette again in Uganda recently to fix the ongoing incontinence. The results are positive and we pray that she will be completely healed. #fistularepair #dignity #freedom #safebirth #uganda #africa

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“The regional health bureau of Amhara gave Dr Birhanu and me this blue tin shed to convert into a maternity hospital. It was the zonal health department office for a population of seven million, but the Barbara May Foundation put it to better use, caring for around 2000 women a year. Not a single woman has died there. We converted the larger office at the end into an operating theatre.” Excerpt from A Doctor in Africa.

#adoctorinafrica #barbaramayfoundation #fistularepair #africa #safebirth ##adoctorinafrica #barbaramayfoundation #fistularepair #africa #safebirth ##savethemothersavetheworldsavethemothersavetheworld

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“Operating on a fistula patient in Bahir Dar. I use this photo in my training lectures, telling students, ‘You can teach a monkey how to do this.’” Excerpt from A Doctor in Africa.
Learn more on
#adoctorinafrica #barbaramayfoundation #fistularepair #africa #safebirth #savethemothersavetheworld

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Phoebe is only 12-years-old, and although she doesn't have a fistula caused by childbirth, she has lived like a fistula patient all her young life due to an abnormality she was born with whereby the kidneys drain to the outside rather than to her bladder. Leaking urine continually, teased, pushed aside, she has never known a minute when she was dry and didn't smell until just a few days ago when she underwent successful repair surgery in Uganda at our BMF-partnership hospital in Kitovu at the fistula camp where all the surgeries are provide free-of-charge for women in need. Her health and dignity returned, Phoebe’s smile is growing day by day. #fistularepair #fistula #africa ...

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The fistula camp underway at Kitovu Mission Hospital near Masaka in Uganda has seen more than 80 women come for treatment. Pictured here are some of the women who have already received or are about to receive surgery. Those cured are dancing rather enthusiastically for joy - and testing their repairs – which we are happy to report, stood up to the dancing! It is such a privilege to be part of a great team that is returning freedom and dignity to these women who have suffered for so long. #barbaramayfoundation #savethemothersavetheworld #fistularepair #safebirth #africa ...

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A land that time forgot: “Our hometown in Bahir Dar rests on the shore of Lake Tana. It’s the only place in the world where boasts made of papyrus reeds are still used, having been made popular by the Egyptians some 5000 years ago. They come in handy to deliver meat from the butcher (alive).”
Excerpt from A Doctor in Africa
For more information: #adoctorinafrica #barbaramayfoundation #fistularepair #africa #safebirth #savethemothersavetheworld

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