Usually, the passage of information and technology is from the developed
to the less developed countries of the world. This is a story of
skills learned in the third world coming the opposite direction to help
someone in the West.
In June 2009 Mrs
Tonino-Heiden was pregnant with her second child and decided to have a
home delivery. She had an experienced midwife with her but in
spite of all their efforts, it was one of those rare occasions when
things just didn't go well. The baby was stillborn and the mother
developed a fistula.
She went to several doctors in Austria but no one was
able to help her. They didn't have the necessary skills.
Finally, she found the website of our German partners through Google and
she telephoned them. She was worried that she would have to travel
to Ethiopia to be treated but the Trustees in Germany put her in touch
with Professor Wacker in Bruchsal, who has done more fistula surgery
than any other doctor in Germany.
He saw her in September 2009, operated and in a few
weeks, she was sent home fully cured. Coincidentally, she was
being treated at the time that Catherine was awarded the Right
Livelihood Award so the two stories caused a lot of media interest.
In the 1980s, Prof Wacker spent two years in Burkina
Faso working with fistula patients. Now based back in Germany, he
travels every year with a team of doctors to Burkina Faso to treat
fistula patients. He has also collaborated with doctors from the
Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
To read the German newspaper article,
click here. The article and photo
are halfway down the page.