I am delighted to present our 2017 Annual Review.
2017 was a year of tremendous success and difficult challenges.
We had great success in Malawi where, for the first time, we treated more than 400 fistula patients in our centre. 50% of them were identified through our Patient Ambassador programme which now has more than 100 former patients and family members working in communities to raise awareness of fistula and encourage good maternal health care.
In Sierra Leone, we are now the second busiest maternity unit in the country with more than 2,800 babies delivered in our hospital in 2017. We expanded our maternity capacity and were delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to officially open the new extension.
Our ongoing training of healthcare professionals in all four countries where we work, coupled with our support to improve access to maternal healthcare, is also contributing to the prevention of fistula which is key to long term success.
2017 was also a year where we were not able to perform as many fistula surgeries as planned, in Kenya because of doctor and nurses strikes and in Madagascar due to a lack of a skilled fistula surgeon for three months. Sierra Leone also experienced its worst ever natural disaster, a landslide, when many of our staff and patients lost family members and their homes
Unfortunately it is the ingrained corruption in each of the countries in which we work, that continues to cause us ongoing problems. We stand firm and will not pay bribes (or facilitators fees, or thank yous) so some things take a little longer than desired – but we always get there.
Our partners are vital in our success and we are grateful to all who continue to contribute generously, both financially and with ‘in-kind’ goods and services.
Only if we work together to ensure all women and girls have access to quality maternal healthcare, will we prevent fistula. Please continue on this journey with us.
Dame Ann Gloag
Founder and Chief Executive Officer