Developing countries have the highest rates of maternal mortality and pelvic organ prolapse in the world.  A huge proportion of women who survive childbirth go on to suffer the pain and indignity of prolapse.

Australians for Women’s Health (A4WH) is an Australian charitable foundation.  The foundation is a humanitarian initiative founded in 2010 by specialist Gynaecologist Obstetrician, Dr Ray Hodgson.  Its objective is to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and to provide gynaecological surgery to women in developing countries.   A4WH has two major arms:
    Maternal Health and
    Prolapse Down Under.
The foundation is fully endorsed by the Australian Federal Government.

Under the auspices of A4WH, teams of volunteer doctors and nurses travel regularly to developing countries within South East Asia to provide treatment and education for women suffering with pregnancy complications and pelvic organ damage.



Mission Statement



Maternal Health
Every day 1,000 women die as a result of pregnancy complications.  Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing countries.  The large majority of these deaths are preventable.

A4WH is tackling maternal death and disease in a number of innovative ways.  In conjunction with several bodies, including the United Nations, the Nepal Ministry of Health, and University Teaching Hospitals, A4WH is striving to make pregnancy and childbirth a much safer time for mothers and their babies.  

Learn more...

Prolapse Down Under
In its more severe forms, genital (or pelvic organ) prolapse is a distressing and disfiguring disease.  University studies have shown that there are 200,000 women in Nepal alone who suffer with severe pelvic organ prolapse and are in urgent need of surgery.  Currently there are very few surgeons in Nepal who can provide this surgery.

The Prolapse Down Under arm of A4WH is set up to provide volunteer surgical camps in countries like Nepal to correct these severe forms of prolapse.  

Learn more...

How You Can Help
You can help women in Nepal or other developing countries receive protection from complications of pregnancy and childbirth and relief from the degrading effects of prolapse by making a donation to A4WH.

The full value of your donation will be used to provide critical medical services to women in developing countries, including:
    training and building capacity of local doctors, nurses and midwives;
    provision of equipment; and
    construction of infrastructure projects such as hospitals, clinics and operating theatres.
The use of donated funds exclusively for patients in need and the building of capacity in their countries is a fundamental principle of the A4WH foundation.

Call us direct on (+612) 6584 7210(+612) 6584 7210 to discuss details, email or simply click to donate and your gift will be transferred directly to A4WH.  A receipt will be sent to your email address.  The process is very simple, effective and safe.

Thank you for considering the plight of these women.

Learn more...

Corporate Sponsors
A4WH is grateful to sponsors of the prolapse treatment camps.
B.  Braun Medical Pty Ltd has been generous in their supply of surgical instruments valued at approximately $AU10,000.  All of these instruments have been invaluable to A4WH surgical camps in Nepal.  The majority of instruments have now been passed on to Solu Hospital in Phaplu to allow local surgeons and future camps to provide treatment.

Medical manufacturer and supply company, Laborie, has very generously donated urodynamics equipment valued at approximately $AU40,000.  A4WH has recently delivered this equipment to Dhulikhel Hospiutal, Nepal and provided medical training for all staff involved.

A4WH wishes to also thank all the sponsors who kindly donated essential medications and other supplies:


    Ramsay Health Care (Port Macquarie Private Hospital)
    Port Macquarie Base Hospital
    GlaxoSmithKline Australia
    Covidien
    Pfizer Australia
    Sanofi-Aventis Australia
    Laborie
    Toshiba Medical Australia
    General Electric


Contact Us
57 Lake Road
PO Box 536
Port Macquarie NSW 2444
Australia
Phone: (+612) 6584 7210
Fax: (+612) 6584 7211
admin@A4WH.org
Every day 1,000 women die as a result of pregnancy complications. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in developing countries.  The large majority of these deaths are preventable.

A4WH is tackling maternal death and disease in a number of innovative ways.  In conjunction with several bodies, including the United Nations, the Nepal Ministry of Health, and University Teaching Hospitals, A4WH is helping make pregnancy and childbirth a safer time for mothers and their babies.


Medical Training
In conjunction with Dhulikhel Hospital and the University of Kathmandu, A4WH continues to provide clinical training in obstetrics and gynaecology to Nepalese medical and nursing staff.  Australian medical lecturers associated with A4WH have assisted in the education of trainee and qualified Nepalese doctors since 2010.


Antenatal Ultrasound Training




A4WH provides ultrasound courses in pregnancy ultrasound in developing countries.  Midwives are instructed in the skilled use of ultrasound to detect high risk pregnancies, including those complicated by placenta praevia, malpresentation and twins.  Upon completion of training midwives scan pregnant women in rural and remote areas of the country using portable ultrasound machines.  When high risk pregnancies are detected these women are then transported to a referral hospital for safe delivery.


Midwife Training
The majority of mothers in developing countries do not have access to a skilled birth attendant.  A4WH has recently introduced educational sessions for midwives from Nepal and plans to increase these sessions in the coming years.



Haemorrhage Prevention
Post partum haemorrhage is the leading cause of death in pregnancy in developing countries.  A4WH is currently undertaking research in the use of a medication called misoprostol.  This drug has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of severe blood loss after delivery.  It is a simple, stable, and inexpensive medication that can be taken orally and does not require refrigeration.  Misoprostol may be the most suitable medication to be used following delivery in rural and remote areas of developing countries.


Scholarships
A4WH proudly provides four annual scholarships for medical and midwifery training.  All scholarships include full return airfares, accommodation and training.

Midwifery Ultrasound Scholarship
Two Nepalese midwives are selected each year to travel to Australia to develop further skills in antenatal ultrasound.  Over a six week period the successful midwives will undergo more advanced training with Port Macquarie Ultrasound.  

Nepalese Medical Student Scholarship
Each November a final year student doctor from Dhulikhel Hospital in Nepal is selected to travel to Australia to spend six weeks of study at the Port Macquarie campus of University of NSW Medical School.  The successful student will undergo more advanced training in skills of obstetrics & gynaecology.  

Australian Medical Student Scholarship
Each year one medical student from Port Macquarie’s Clinical School is selected to travel to an A4WH Medical Camp in Nepal and take an active part in the camp.  


Maternal Mortality Facts
Maternal and neonatal deaths are clustered around the delivery and the post partum period, with mortality risks strongly associated with the "three delays" in receiving skilled care at the time of an obstetric emergency—e.g.  delays in the decision to seek care, in reaching health facility, and receiving quality care on arrival.  A recent multi-country study has shown that these delays are often attributed to financial barriers, transportation challenges and distance to appropriate facilities. Ensuring that mothers have access to a skilled attendant during labour can dramatically reduce the risk of death for the mother and newborn child.  In almost all countries where health professionals attend more than 80 per cent of deliveries, maternal mortality ratios are below 200 per 100,000 deliveries. In rural areas where doctors and nurses are scarce, women often give birth at home without the assistance of a skilled health worker with the medical skills or equipment to provide life-saving interventions in the case of emergencies.

Adapted from WHO (2005).

In its more severe forms, genital (or pelvic organ) prolapse is a distressing and disfiguring disease.  University studies have shown that there are 200,000 women in Nepal alone who suffer with severe pelvic organ prolapse and are in urgent need of surgery.  Currently there are very few surgeons in Nepal who can provide this surgery.

The Prolapse Down Under arm of A4WH is set up to provide surgical camps in countries like Nepal to correct these severe forms of prolapse.


What is Prolapse?
PROLAPSE refers to an organ falling out of place.  In the female pelvis organs at risk of prolapse include the uterus, bladder, rectum, small bowel, and the vaginal wall itself.  Any or all of these organs can fall down through the vaginal opening and lead to a number of symptoms including pelvic and vaginal pressure and pain; discomfort with sitting, standing or exercising; incontinence of urine or faeces; and pain with intercourse.

Learn more...

Warning!
Normal
(Illustration)
Cystocoele
(Illustration)
Rectocoele
(Illustration)
Complete
(Illustration)
Cystocoele
(Photograph)
Complete
(Photograph)
Complete
(Photograph)
The Prolapse Down Under arm of A4WH exists to bring relief to the hundreds of thousands of women in developing countries, such as Nepal, who suffer humiliation, pain and rejection caused by prolapse and incontinence.   Prolapse Down Under has been operating since 2010 and was the original thrust of the organisation.  It was established as a humanitarian initiative designed to bring relief to the large number of underprivileged women who suffer the indignity and social ostracism that comes with pelvic organ prolapse and other genital conditions.

The issue is a serious one.  Severe prolapse affects every aspect of the victim’s life, resulting in physical suffering and mental distress.  Through Prolapse Down Under, A4WH actively seeks to bring hope and restoration to the lives of thousands of women who would otherwise be abandoned to despair.


Key Projects

Surgical Treatment Camps
A4WH regularly organises
teams of volunteer surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses to travel to Nepal to provide treatment for women suffering with prolapse and incontinence.  Camps provide surgery and conservative treatments as well as training to local medical and nursing staff.  Each camp generally lasts two to three weeks and is based in a local hospital in rural and remote areas of Nepal.

A4WH works in conjunction with the United Nations and the Government of Nepal.  The organisation is committed to ongoing research into the area of prolapse and incontinence in developing countries including quality of life studies pre and post treatment.

Learn more...



Dhulikhel Hospital
A4WH has recently set up a clinical unit for the investigation and treatment of urinary incontinence and prolapse at Dhulikhel Hospital, Nepal.  This hospital now has the first urodynamics unit in the country.  Urodynamics units allow accurate assessment of bladder function to determine the ideal management of urinary function disorders including incontinence.  




Australian Student Scholarships
Each year a scholarship is available for one medical student from University of NSW Port Macquarie Rural Clinical School to travel to Nepal to assist in the activities of a treatment camp.  The scholarship provides an all expenses return trip to Nepal.  Applications for this scholarship open on September 1 each year.


Local student Scholarships
A4WH is providing a secondary school scholarship to a local Nepalese girl, Anju BK.  Anju, aged 13, won the hearts of the A4WH team during the March 2011 surgical treatment camp when she provided exceptional care during their stay.  Anju’s education fees will allow her to travel to Kathmandu to attend a secondary school of very high academic standards, allowing Anju to reach her full potential.
Q: If I make a donation to A4WH, where does my money go?

A: The full value of your donation will be used to provide critical medical services to women in developing countries, including:
    training and building capacity of local doctors, nurses and midwives;
    provision of equipment; and
    construction of infrastructure projects such as hospitals, clinics and operating theatres.
The use of donated funds exclusively for patients in need and the building of capacity in their countries is a fundamental principle of the A4WH foundation.

Q: How is this possible? And how can I be sure my donation does go to where you say it does?
A: Some donors elect to have their donation cover the administrative and organisational costs and an Australian company transfers all of its annual profits to A4WH.  This company (Port Macquarie Ultrasound) is owned and operated by the founder of A4WH, Dr Ray Hodgson.  These funds and personal donations by Dr Hodgson and contributions from other than donors eg merchandise sales, cover all administrative and organisational costs.   A4WH is strongly committed to complete transparency of all finances within charitable organisations.

Q: There are so many charitable organisations asking for my money.  Why should I choose to donate to A4WH?
A: There is no doubt that Australians are extremely privileged to receive very high standards of medical care.  Our access to a world class health system can so easily be taken for granted.  There is a massive imbalance in the availability of medical treatment between countries like Australia and those of the developing world.  And among the populations of these countries this imbalance is most blatant among women.  If you agree with A4WH’s Mission Statement that every woman, regardless of race, wealth or status should have equal access to the highest standards of medical care, a donation to A4WH is an effective and efficient ways of redressing this shameful imbalance.

Q: Is a donation I make to A4WH tax deductible?
A: Yes. All donations to A4WH are fully tax deductible.

Q: I want to become a volunteer.  What do I do?
A: Download the Volunteer Application form.

Q: Is there an age limit for volunteers?
A: As working in overseas countries involves a certain element of risk, the insurance policies of A4WH specify a lower age limit of 18 years.

Q: What types of insurance cover will I need?
A: A4WH will cover all travel and medical insurance, including, if necessary, medical evacuation.

Q: Will I be safe at my overseas placement?
A: There are security issues of some kind in every country.  A4WH monitors security through our official and local contacts. Understanding the culture, observing local social behaviours, establishing friendships and seeking advice from the local community will improve your everyday personal security, as will being sensitive and sensible.

Go to the “How You Can Help” tab in the menu above for full particulars.
A4WH is grateful to sponsors of the prolapse treatment camps.

B Braun Medical Pty Ltd have been generous in their supply of surgical instruments valued at approximately $AU10,000.  All of these instruments have been invaluable to A4WH surgical camps in Nepal.  The majority of instruments have now been passed on to Solu Hospital in Phaplu to allow local surgeons and future camps to provide treatment.

A4WH wishes to also thank all the sponsors who kindly donated essential medications and other supplies:


    Ramsay Health Care (Port Macquarie Private Hospital)
    Port Macquarie Base Hospital
    GlaxoSmithKline Australia
    Covidien
    Pfizer Australia
    Sanofi-Aventis Australia
    Laborie
    Toshiba Medical Australia
    General Electric


Visit this space for regular updates of media coverage of A4WH activities.


Media Enquiries
Keith Wilkinson
Phone: (+61) 0412 85 65 69
media@A4WH.org

Click the links below to see some examples of recent media exposure.


O & G Magazine October 2013.
Port Macquarie News January 2013.
YouTube Nepal Mission November 2012.
Port Macquarie Independent News July 2012.
Focus Magazine June 2012.
NBN Television News May 2012.
Making a donation to A4WH is the most direct and helpful way of ensuring that many women in Nepal and other developing countries will receive relief from the degrading effects of prolapse.

All donations are used to provide critical medical services to women in developing countries.  Every cent of your dollar donated is used to help women in need of medical care. None of your donation is used to cover administrative or any other organisational costs.  All financial records of A4WH undergo rigid accounting procedures and submission to the Australian Charity and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). These records are freely available for public viewing.

Call us direct on (+612) 6584 7210 to discuss details, email, or simply click to donate [pending] and your gift will be deposited directly into the A4WH Trust Account.  An official receipt will be sent to your email address.  The process is very simple, effective and safe.

All donations are used to provide critical medical services to women in developing countries.

Thank you for considering the plight of these women.


Fund Raising
Details of upcoming events will be advised here.


Gift Certificates
Deductible Gift Recipiency status is pending.  When approved, it will allow all donations and gifts to A4WH to be fully tax-deductible.  Your continuing support meanwhile, is greatly appreciated.

You may wish to consider buying a gift of hope for someone you esteem in place of the normal birthday or Christmas present.  There is a depth of true worth in restoring another human being to full health.

As little as $AU250 will allow one woman to undergo all the necessary surgery to correct pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.  Your gift will allow a woman to reclaim her dignity and femininity.  She will be able to engage in life in ways we so easily take for granted.

Gift Certificates are available in denominations of $25, $50, $100, and $250.

We will send you a beautiful certificate, personalised to your instructions, or direct to the person you nominate.


Sponsor a Victim
Sponsoring a victim of prolapse is truly rewarding.  In a world where selfishness and greed have so long dominated, a single act of kindness returns many times to the giver.

A sponsorship of as little as $250 will restore a Nepalese woman’s dignity and hope.


Sponsor Equipment
Portable Ultrasound Scanners are an ideal way for midwives in developing countries to assess pregnant women for life-threatening conditions.  One of A4WH’s major aims is to provide a high standard of training in the use of this technology.

The life-saving potential of a good quality scanner is well documented.

Phone (+612) 6584 7210 or email for details.


Volunteering
Principles of volunteering
  • Volunteering benefits the community and the volunteer
  • Volunteer work is unpaid
  • Volunteering is always a matter of choice
  • Volunteering is not compulsorily undertaken to receive pensions or government allowances
  • Volunteering is a vehicle for individuals or groups to address human, environmental and social needs
  • Volunteering is not a substitute for paid work
  • Volunteers do not replace paid workers nor constitute a threat to the job security of paid workers
  • Volunteering respects the rights, dignity and culture of others
  • Volunteering promotes human rights and equality


Opportunities for Volunteering in Australia
  • Logistical organisation of camps
  • Heightening awareness of the plight of women suffering from prolapse and pregnancy complications.  Field work on location overseas
  • Theatre nurses with experience in prolapse and incontinence surgery
  • Midwives
  • Anaesthetists
  • Gynaecology surgeons with prolapse surgery experience
  • Research and data collection and processing
  • Builders, trades people including plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.
  • General Assistance


Volunteer Application Form
Download



Advice for Volunteers
  • Think about your motivations for going overseas and consider how they link to your expectations of your camp.
  • Be realistic about what you can achieve.
  • Speak with former volunteers before you go and fellow volunteers when you are away.  Their experiences can be very helpful.
  • Learn some local language.  A few words will get you a long way.
  • Spend time researching your host country and get to know as much as you can about the culture and history while you are there.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get worn-out.  Give yourself time to relax and ensure that you are getting enough sleep and looking after your health.
  • Try to reserve judgement of different cultural practices.  Be willing to accept other ways of doing things and allow your own cultural assumptions to be challenged.
  • Ask lots of questions.  You may wish to start by questioning A4WH before you go.
  • If we can’t provide you with the answers you need then you may need to look for another organisation.  At your camp, keep asking questions.  If you don’t understand something, ask.  If the answers don’t align with your expectations, be patient and take time to explore the reasons why and realise that understanding others is about seeking out the complexities of people's lives.
  • A large part of being a volunteer is about forging relationships with others.  Your volunteering experience will be far richer if you make an effort to forge good relationships with local people and fellow volunteers.
  • Be prepared that you might not receive a warm welcome from everyone you meet.
  • Be cautious of how your behaviour will be perceived by your host community and be aware that the impression you make will inform how people think about your host country and other volunteers in the future.
  • As far as possible, try to keep your eyes and mind open.

Once you have become successful in your application to become a volunteer with A4WH, we suggest the following:
  • Arrange a time to meet with A4WH management either in person or over the telephone and discuss the volunteer project in more detail to get a better understanding of what’s involved.  For starters we would recommend you discuss and agree on:

  • Clear objectives, timeframe and the deliverables
  • Mutual obligations
  • Level of A4WH support and involvement

Once you meet with A4WH and agree to fulfil the volunteer project, there is an understanding that you will do your best to complete the project.  If your circumstances change and you are unable to fulfil the volunteer project, please let A4WH know ASAP.  An unsuccessful or incomplete volunteer project costs the community and the organisation valuable time and resources.



The camaraderie, satisfaction and personal enrichment that come from particiating in a volunteer mission with A4WH is unforgettable.

Australians for Women’s Health
57 Lake Road
PO Box 536
Port Macquarie NSW 2444
Australia
Phone: (+612) 6584 7210
Fax: (+612) 6584 7211
admin@A4WH.org

Media Enquiries
Keith Wilkinson
Phone: (+61) 0412 85 65 69
media@A4WH.org

Please help us build our desperately needed
Mothers and Babies Hospital in rural Nepal!


A4WH Mothers and Babies Hospital
December 2015

Dolakha region following the April earthquake.
Medical clinic in Dolakha following the May earthquake.
Temporary Tent Hospital.
A successful caesarean section in the blue operating tent (above).
A4WH is delighted to announce that we will soon be building a Mothers and Babies Hospital in Charikot, Nepal.

The hospital will be constructed on the site where medical teams have been working in tents following the devastating earthquakes earlier this year. The hospital will provide critical medical care to those in need.

In addition the hospital will become a major teaching centre for doctors, nurses and midwives. The hospital will also be the base for an extensive Community Health program, providing essential public health measures and medical research in the region. All funding for the construction of the hospital will come from public donations.

Rotary Australia, and in particular the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie have been extremely helpful in assistance with this project.

Through Rotary, all donations to assist with the construction of the hospital are now tax deductible.

Please support this project by donating to our hospital construction. Buy a brick, and we’ll engrave your name on the brick or on a tile within the hospital. Come and visit us once the hospital is built, and find your name among the names of the other donors. We really can make a major difference to the health of the underprivileged women of Nepal.

August 2015
Earlier this year the team at A4WH identified the crucial need for a hospital in north-east Nepal. Limited medical and surgical services in Charikot were being provided in a very run-down, dilapidated building. Overcrowding and potential cross infection were major problems.

The devastating earthquakes in Nepal of April and May of this year left more than 8150 dead and tens of thousands injured. The existing hospital building in Dolakha has been largely destroyed and it has not been possible to continue to use this facility.

Medical teams have been continuing their life-saving work with very limited infrastructure in basic tents.




Do You Really Want to Help in Nepal?

May 2015
Despite the devastation and the horrors of the recent earthquake in Nepal, the situation will worsen in the weeks to come. Experience from other international natural disasters shows us that in the weeks following the event supplies of medicine, food and water become scarcer, water-borne diseases proliferate, hospitals become more overwhelmed as those in makeshift shelters succumb to exposure and disease.

Valuable lessons have been learnt from recent natural disasters including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The massive scale and complexity of these disasters exceeded the capacity of any single agency. The voluntary nature of the international humanitarian system led to a lack of coordinated response, a lack of predictable leadership, and inadequate accountability. Disparate groups of well-intentioned do-gooders flooded the affected countries in an effort to assist the crises, however many lacked the skills and experience and coordination to provide any effective assistance. In fact there were many cases where well-meaning but inexperienced volunteers led to hindering of aid efforts. In the aftermath of a large scale disaster, such poor logistical relief efforts involving distribution of goods and services are frequently called “the second disaster”. We must do everything we can to avoid this second disaster in Nepal.

We sit back and watch the news coverage of the horrendous scenes of death and despair in Nepal, and many of us feel overwhelmed with helplessness and guilt and the pressing need to help. The worst thing you can do right now is to simply travel to Nepal unannounced and expect to provide useful aid. The single international airport in Nepal, which itself has sustained damage is at full capacity. The airport is required for emergency aid supplies and for transport of victims and qualified, coordinated relief workers. If you are intending to travel to Nepal to assist in the emergency, in almost all cases it would be far more helpful to delay your trip for at least the next few weeks, and to join a reliable international relief agency. You’d rather donate clothing and blankets to the thousands in need in Nepal? Don’t make this mistake either. Postal and delivery services are desperately inadequate in Nepal, and few functioning distribution channels must prioritise essential supplies like medicine, food and water. If you do have clothes and other goods to donate, sell these at home and donate the proceeds to a reliable charity.

Unfortunately many of us are cynical regarding cash donations to charities and other aid organisations. And in the wake of a major disaster people are inundated with pleas for aid via telemarketers, social media and email. While the majority of these requests are from legitimate organisations, there are a number of scammers and inefficient charities pursuing our money. Be very wary of those seeking donations over the phone, and exercise caution with social media and email requests for aid.

Who do you trust then? How do you recognise a trustworthy, reliable relief organisation? The best charitable organisations keep administrative and overhead costs low, ideally below 20 per cent of total funds donated; accounts are transparent; and corporate governance is highly principled. There are some very useful websites listing the best charities involved in relief efforts with extensive expert reviews.

Charity Navigator

Charity Watch

My Philanthropedia

Nepal desperately needs our help. We need to provide this help in the most effective and efficient ways possible. Do not turn your back on this country in this time of anguish and distress and critical need for assistance. Help the Nepalese people, but help them in ways that can provide the greatest humanitarian impact.

Dr Ray Hodgson
Australians for Women’s Health


Treatment Camps

December 2014
A4WH has now selected the site of the hospital
it will construct in Nepal. During the December camp Dr Hodgson inspected several potential sites in rural and remote Nepal for the hospital to determine the area of greatest need. The hospital will be constructed in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the district of Dolakha. It is anticipated that this hospital will provide a base for A4WH teaching of local doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedical health workers. Plans are currently underway for the hospital. Construction will recruit as many Nepalese workers and local materials as possible to further boost the local economy. The whole A4WH team are very excited about the prospects of this new venture.

Dr Sahar Pakmehr, an Australian obstetrics & gynaecology registrar joined A4WH for her first trip to Nepal. Dr Pakmehr provided several valuable lectures to trainee Nepalese doctors at Dhulikhel Hospital. These lectures were very well received and they will contribute to the increasing standards of medical care in Nepal.

June / July 2014
This camp was another highly successful one. Many women underwent surgical correction of their advanced pelvic organ prolapse in Eastern Nepal and Dr Hodgson provided valuable teaching of these techniques to Nepalese gynaecology surgeons. Many of these surgeons are now able to perform operations themselves for women suffering from prolapse of the uterus, bladder and bowel. An important part of the philosophy of A4WH is to empower local Nepalese medical teams to provide medical and surgical care independently. We are now well on the way to achieving this aim.

Dr Hodgson also began discussions for the next major A4WH project: the construction of a hospital in remote Nepal. This exciting development will provide an invaluable facility in an area of need in Nepal. The site of the proposed hospital will be chosen later in the year.

September / October 2013
Dr Marcus Carey joined the A4WH team for
this camp. Dr Carey is a Melbourne-based urogynaecologist with an outstanding international reputation. He provided enormous assistance in teaching local Nepalese gynaecology surgeons on the latest techniques in pelvic floor surgery. In addition to practical demonstrations, Dr Carey undertook lectures for Nepalese surgeons at The Institute of Medicine in Kathmandu. He discussed the challenging topic of the surgical management of vaginal vault prolapse.

Dr Hodgson provided teaching to several local Nepalese surgeons in remote eastern Nepal where a uterine prolapse camp was held. These surgeons are now able to provide independent surgical care to many women suffering with basic forms of pelvic organ prolapse.

The surgical lectures and practical demonstrations were very warmly received and on future trips Dr Carey and Dr Hodgson will provide further practical teaching to allow more complex pelvic floor procedures to be performed by local Nepal gynaecology surgeons. Australian volunteer nurses will provide teaching to local Nepalese nursing theatre and ward staff to deliver high standards of nursing care to the women undergoing this surgery.

April 2013
A pathology and physiotherapy training camp was held at Dhulikhel Hospital. Dr Hodgson was joined by Dr Sandy McColl, head of the University of NSW Rural Medical School at Port Macquarie. Dr McColl provided training in pathology and clinical aspects of physiotherapy to local Nepalese medical and physiotherapy students. This is likely to become a regular teaching event. Dr Hodgson undertook clinical assessment of a number of patients suffering with severe genital prolapse and fistulae in preparation for the next surgical camp in Nepal. This camp will take place in September and October 2013.

January 2013
A successful prolapse and incontinence camp took place at Dhulikhel Hospital.  18 demonstration surgical procedures were performed on women with severe forms of uterine and vaginal prolapse and urinary incontinence.  Dr Hodgson also provided several surgical lectures to Kathmandu University professors, surgeons and nursing staff.

June 2012
A three week gynaecology screening and ultrasound training camp was based in the district of Kaski in western Nepal.  A4WH provided a group of ten volunteer workers including two nurses,
two ultrasonographers, three doctors, and three ancillary workers.  

March 2011
The March 2011 Prolapse Treatment Camp was based in Solu Hospital in the district of Solukhumbu, Nepal.  Two surgeons, two anaesthetists, two theatre nurses and an ancillary worker spent two weeks providing surgery and education to women suffering with prolapse and incontinence.

Solu Hospital is a small institution built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1974.  The hospital has no regular operating functionality and all equipment and medications were provided by A4WH.

January 2011
This camp was based in Dhulikhel Hospital, Nepal.  A4WH volunteer surgeons undertook training of local gynaecology surgeons in techniques of prolapse and incontinence surgery.  New surgical procedures including urethral sling insertion for urinary incontinence were introduced to the hospital.

A4WH is grateful to the Ramsay Health for donations of medical supplies for this surgical camp.

503 women were screened for prolapse and other conditions.  83 operations performed on a total of 37 women.  81 of these operations were for treatment of prolapse or urinary incontinence.  Two local Nepalese gynaecology surgeons and four local nursing staff underwent surgical training during the camp.  Pre-operative Quality of Life Surveys were performed for all women undergoing surgery; the surveys were followed up for these women at six and twelve months’ intervals.

1015 patients were screened and treated for a wide range of gynaecological conditions.  Eight Nepalese midwives were trained in the skills of obstetric ultrasound.  A4WH staff delivered three further gynaecology lectures to the medical staff at Dhulikhel Hospital.



Dr Mingmar G. Sherpa

September 2013

The Nepal Department of Health is grateful to Australians for Women’s Health (A4WH) for the exceptional work it has provided to the underprivileged women of Nepal.  A4WH has performed many life-changing operations on these women, often under extremely difficult circumstances.  A4WH has been responsible for the extensive training of numerous local gynaecology surgeons.

The Nepal Department of Health is also very appreciative of A4WH’s extensive contribution to local midwife training, particularly in the area of Focussed Obstetric Ultrasound.  A4WH training is having a major impact on the competence of Nepalese Skilled Birth Attendants, and this is essential to the reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality in our country.

It was a great pleasure working closely with Dr Ray Hodgson.  Through his compassion, humility and tireless work, he has been inspirational to his teams from Australia and to the local medical and nursing staff.

In the years to come we look forward to the development of numerous projects in collaboration with A4WH to further improve the lives of the disadvantaged women of Nepal.

Dr Mingmar G. Sherpa
Director-General of Health
Nepal


Jayne Rogers

I am a Registered Nurse working in the Operating Theatres of Tweed Heads Hospital.  I am also a devoted supporter of the organisation, Australians for Women’s Health and its inspiring Director Dr Ray Hodgson.  (I’m wearing the striped hat).

I was privileged to be a volunteer member of the A4WH surgical camp to Phaplu Nepal in March 2011.  This camp proved to be a life-changing experience, not only for the amazing women and their families in Nepal, but for me and the generous people who donated their time and funds to this very worthwhile cause.

Ray is an extremely energetic and inspirational man and as part of his team, I found an ability to rise to challenges and help develop innovative solutions to problems as they arose.  This proved to be a wonderful personal development opportunity which I hope to repeat many times over.   A4WH provided a safe environment in a remote area which allowed our team to work efficiently and also afforded us the opportunity to be part of the community in this region of Nepal.

A4WH is determined to continue this wonderful work and I will continue to assist in any capacity I can.

Many thanks to A4WH for affording me this amazing experience!

Jayne Rogers
Registered Nurse



Louise Harper

It was my absolute privilege to be part of the A4WH camp in March 2011 in Solukhumbu, Nepal.  (That’s me next to Jayne, with the red sleeves.)

The conditions we endured were very harsh with near-freezing conditions, very basic accommodation and food.  We worked in a hospital where we would face enormous challenges with cleanliness, limited surgical equipment and sterility.   We would come to know just how creative we could be in stretching our resources, where “recycling” came to take on a meaning that the developed world would simply not comprehend.

Our patients walk for up to a week to reach our camp for treatment; there is no other way for them.  Their genital damage is so horribly disfiguring it could almost make you cry.  But after their surgery it is simply sensational to see their gorgeous faces light up.  Their dignity is restored and they can return to a productive life.  These women express their gratitude in such moving ways: they hug you so earnestly; some even do a little dance and play happy music for us in the post-op. ward!

I feel so proud to be part of a team that can create such profound changes to a woman’s life.  Just as these women can’t express their thanks in words because they speak no English, I can’t express my absolute joy in helping them because there are no words that can really describe this magical feeling.  This all leaves me no other course but to join Ray in his tireless fight for these women, raising awareness and funds to enable this incredible, life-changing work to continue.  

So Ray: from the bottom of my heart—thank you!

Louise Harper
Registered Nurse


You can secure a brick with your name embossed on it for $50. The cost is fully tax deductible. The brick will be used in a visible position to construct the new Mothers and Babies Hospital in Charikot, Nepal.

Click "next step", below and you will be transferred to the Port Macquarie chapter of Rotary International's Web site where you can safely complete your transaction.

IMPORTANT! You must add the code-word "BRICK" in the "Special Requests" box in the next step . . .

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All gifts to Australians for Women’s Health (A4WH) are fully tax deductible and will be used exclusively to construct the new Mothers and Babies Hospital in Charikot, Nepal.

Thank you for considering the plight of these beautiful people!

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