Last summer, Medical Teams International volunteers Pat Reser, Jeanine Ward, Pam King and Deb Hirsh traveled to Southwest Uganda where they met brave and resilient women recovering from obstetric fistulas – a heartbreaking childbirth injury that outcasts too many women around the world.

Four medical teams international volunteers, standing and smiling with women in Uganda who suffer from obstetric fistulas

The women they met – Joyce, Rosa, Patience and Beatrice – suffered their injuries after laboring alone for days without help from trained birth attendants. Without treatment, these women’s injuries made it impossible for them to control the flow of urine or stools from their bodies. They were rejected by their husbands, families and communities because their conditions caused a foul odor – and they were believed to be cursed. What’s more – this preventable condition can be cured by a simple surgery.

This situation is not rare. More than 1,000,000 women in sub-Sahara Africa are suffering from obstetric fistulas. Like modern-day lepers, they are outcast and abandoned by their families and neighbors.

Thankfully, you’re making change: Medical Teams International is working to prevent the condition in Uganda by providing maternal health education and access to pre-natal care, along with trained birth attendants. Women who are suffering from this condition are being referred for surgeries and receiving the help they need for healing and wholeness.

On behalf of all of the women who’s lives you are impacting in such an important way: Thank you.