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A letter from Sussex Place, May 2014

Paul Fogarty, Senior Vice President, Global Health writes...

In October 2013, the RCOG took a huge leap forward in its global health focus with the launch of the RCOG Global Health Strategy. This strategy is now being implemented and taken forward by the Global Health Board. Global health is a significant priority for our College. With over half of our membership working outside the UK the College sees the future of women’s health as a worldwide issue.

Many Members and Fellows already make a significant contribution to this global vision. They contribute in many different ways and at different stages of their career – supporting or starting a link with a hospital in a low-resource country, relocating and devoting whole careers to deliver care in the most rural and challenging contexts, mentoring colleagues working to improve curricula and professional training in other countries, undertaking a fellowship or similar volunteering opportunity with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), raising money to deliver targeted training to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, spending leave performing life-changing fistula surgery and replacing retirement with work overseas. The list and examples are endless and the College wants to hear about them all – to spread best practice, to celebrate our Members’ work, and explore how the College can help.

This year our philanthropic activity is striding forward with the development of a Global Health Fellowship opportunity at Kitovu Health Care Complex; a centre for fistula camps in Uganda. Through an exceptionally generous donation from Mr Marcus Filshie, a volunteer himself in Uganda in the 1970s, we have developed the RCOG/Marcus Filshie Fellowship. We are looking for a Global Health Fellow of ST4 or above, or a consultant, or a retired consultant who can offer their time to this inspirational establishment. This will hugely improve the fistula service to Ugandan women. 

Is this you? Would you like to experience this unique project? If you can give 6 weeks or longer to become an RCOG Global Health Fellow get in touch with me – I would love to hear from you. And if you can’t do this year – please do still contact us. We’re hoping our Global Health Fellows will provide resource at Kitovu for years to come.

I urge you to really consider Uganda and other opportunities to give back – for the benefits it will bring to you, for our colleagues already working in difficult low-resource environments and most of all for the women. You have the power to make a difference. You have the ability to change women’s lives where they are suffering in silence.

The 23 May 2014 marks UNFPA International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. As Obstetricians and Gynaecologists we are uniquely placed to prevent fistula with training and then repair them when they occur. The RCOG is committed to raising awareness of this totally preventable condition and to work towards bringing an end to obstetric fistula worldwide. Visit our website on the 23 May to view our new video on fistula and read stories from women affected and healthcare professionals working to help women with the condition.

Paul Fogarty
Senior Vice President, Global Health