We assemble teams to volunteer for short-term missions to perform gynecological surgeries in remote hospitals around the world. At this time, we are focusing on a socially crippling, but treatable condition called pelvic organ prolapse. In one expression of the condition, uterine prolapse, the pelvic walls are weakened to the point where the uterus can descend through the vaginal canal, and extrude outside of the body, hanging between a woman’s legs.
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Prolapse isn’t life threatening, but it can make a woman’s life miserable. She can be incontinent, uncomfortable walking or sitting, and unable to tolerate sex. In some societies, a woman with prolapse can be divorced and outcast, left to fend for herself.
Women in the developing world are vulnerable to prolapse. They have multiple vaginal deliveries, many years spent doing strenuous manual labor, and poor nutrition. They have limited access to trained health care providers, which puts these women at risk for serious gynecological health issues.
The operation to repair pelvic organ prolapse, most often hysterectomy and pelvic reconstruction to repair the connective tissue which has been damaged, is reliable and usually has few complications. In our experience, patients are usually up and about within 24 hours. And the results are life changing! Our patients have returned to work and family with their bodies restored and energy renewed. We are flattered by the fact that our patients have encouraged family and friends who suffer from the symptoms prolapse to seek treatment, too.
Because we are female surgeons, A Stitch in Time can see women in cultures where gynecological treatment by a male doctor would be taboo or uncomfortable for the woman, and the number of female doctors is extremely limited. We feel that every woman has the right to adequate gynecological care, and our missions reach out to women who have been overlooked.
The members of A Stitch in Time believe that quality of life is a significant part of the human experience. Prolapse isn’t usually life-threatening, but it can make life miserable, and we are committed to alleviating suffering, and improving global health for women.
A Stitch in Time is a small, focused grass roots organization, and we like it that way. There are plenty of larger, long established NGOs doing great work for people with limited access to health care, but we want to maintain our autonomy. By staying small, we are directly responsible for every aspect of our work, from patient care to financial management.
Learn more about our team here.
For each mission, A Stitch in Time recruits qualified surgeons, doctors, midwives and nurses who donate their personal time. Though most of our team members are US based, we are a multinational group, and welcome participants from diverse backgrounds.