Africa: Head of Women for Africa Foundation, Donor of New Fistula Unit At Catholic Hospital, Pays Courtesy Call On President Sirleaf
Ahead of the launch of the “Stop Fistula” campaign and inauguration of a new Fistula Unit at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in Congo Town, the President and Founder of the Women for Africa Foundation (Mujeres por Africa), Senora Maria Teresa Fernández de la Vega, paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday, May 1, to discuss the Foundation’s activities in Liberia and today’s launch.
According to an Executive Mansion release, Senora de la Vega, a former Vice President of Spain, told President Sirleaf that she had fulfilled her promise to establish a Fistula Unit in Liberia. A surgical team, which arrived two weeks ago, had been working and had performed surgery on 16 young women, some of them very difficult. Knowing that the Government of Liberia was working very hard to end obstetric fistula, she said her organization wanted to contribute with resources.
“I have two passions – Africa and women – and I am joining the two together,” Senora de la Vega told the Liberian leader. She said her Foundation was opening its first office in Liberia.
Regarding the work of the Fistula Unit, Senora de la Vega said that her organization has worked closely with the Ministry of Gender & Development and the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare. Initial difficulties which the medical team experienced had been quickly resolved, she said, and she was happy with the work they were doing. For the future, she said she was prepared to explore with the Spanish Ministry of Health ways to train Liberian doctors in Spain.
Senora de la Vega informed President Sirleaf that her Foundation’s work in Liberia has two elements: the surgeries performed by medical doctors; and an information campaign to combat fistula. It was important, she said, for more women to go to the hospital to have their babies and avoid getting fistula. The organization would consider expanding the age group of young women that are offered free services when they have their first child. Both aspects of the Foundation’s work would continue, she assured President Sirleaf.
Among other projects, she said the Foundations is working with prestigious, Ivy League universities in the United States for an African School of Economics, as a channel for the views of African women, and as a means of empowering African women. It was important, she said, to change the negative image of Africa; as an Advisor for this initiative, she would work to change that perception