The mother-of-two, from Auckland’s North Shore, Natasha Myers, is travelling to Ethiopia later this year to volunteer for Hamlin Charitable Fistula Hospitals Trust NZ.
By Emily Ford |
Natasha Myers considers herself fortunate to come from a country with access to proper healthcare.
She had her first child when she was 16-years-old, but if she wasn’t from a western society it could have been different.
The mother-of-two, from Auckland’s North Shore, is travelling to Ethiopia later this year to volunteer for Hamlin Charitable Fistula Hospitals Trust NZ.
The charity provides support for women with obstetric fistulas, an injury caused by stillbirth following obstructed labor.
It’s an organization that’s close to Myers’ heart.
“If I was from Ethiopia it wouldn’t have been the same,” Myers says.
“Just because these women are on the other side of the world doesn’t mean they’re entitled to any less than us. My heart breaks for them.”
Obstetric fistulas commonly affect women in poorer countries who give birth in poorly equipped clinics where caesareans aren’t available.
The injury leaves them with bowel incontinence, causing their husbands and families to abandon them out of shame.
“They’re still trying to manage the loss of their baby and then they’ve been shunned,” Myers says.
Reg and Catherine Hamlin established the trust in the late 1950s when they saw a need for better healthcare for women with fistulas in Ethiopia.
A specialist hospital was built in 1975 to provide women with fistulas with free restorative surgeries, and it has a more than 95 per cent success rate.
Natasha Myers has a background in public health and has been involved with the trust for a number of years.
She’s expecting her 17-day trip to see the charity’s work firsthand will be an eye-opening experience.
“In some ways it’s the least we can do to reach out to our sisters around the world.
“It will be a great reminder of how much of a difference we can much in their lives from the other side of the world and support something that restores their dignity.”
Natasha Myers is hoping to raise $10,000 for the charity in the lead up to her trip, including hosting a screening of the film Mother’s Day in Takapuna on April 28.
Head to eventbrite.co.nz/e/a-night-at-the-movies-fundraiser-tickets-23489253991 for tickets or visit hamlinfistula.org.nz to donate to the trust.
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