Brian Hancock MD. FRCS is a retired colorectal surgeon from the University Hospital of South Manchester. 40 years ago, Brian worked as a general surgeon in Kamuli Hospital, Uganda where he first encountered obstetric fistulae and performed simple repairs helped by Chassar Moir’s classic textbook. He has made several visits to the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa to learn and later to help with complex recto-vaginal fistulae. Brian was a trustee of Hamlin Fistula UK for 30 years and is now an honorary vice president of the UK branch of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.
Since his retirement in 2000 he has spent three months each year in Africa making visits to several hospitals in Uganda and has worked as a fistula surgeon and trainer with Mercy Ships in many West African countries.
Brian has spent the last 14 years improving the lives of many young women in Uganda. He continues to teach fistula surgery to younger surgeons and has published a training book that is widely used by fistula surgeon in developing countries. Brian’s local Rotary Club has awarded him a Paul Harris Fellowship for the work he has done in Uganda, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 2010
Glyn Constantine FRCOG is a Consultant Gynaecologist at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, specialising mainly in prolapse and bladder problems.
Ten years ago Glyn attended a lecture on the plight of women with childbirth injuries in Africa, which inspired him to volunteer his holiday time, first to learn, and then join the team at Kamuli Hospital. He has made visits twice a year and has operated on over 200 patients. He was fortunate over some years to work alongside and train a caring medical superintendent, Dr Alphons Matovu, who has now left for a new position where he is able to use his skills to operate on more women with these injuries. It is really rewarding and has always been our ambition to train Ugandan surgeons to continue this work.
Mhairi Collie MS FRCS, is a colo-rectal surgeon based in Edinburgh, married with 2 children and one springer spaniel. She has been visiting Africa regularly since 1999, and has been treating obstetric fistulae patients there since 2001. She mainly visits Uganda, although she has worked in Ethiopia and Ghana in the past and has visited the world-famous Addis Ababa Fistula hospital. She is passionate about helping fistula sufferers – having become aware of the terrible, life-shattering consequences of obstructed labour and fistulae. Seeing the transformation of the lives of those patients after successful surgery motivates her very strongly to keep trying to raise the profile of these patients and to try to keep going out to Uganda to undertake surgery in special surgical camps. At present she visits twice per year in her own time. In the UK, Mhairi has a specialised interest in treating patients with incontinence. She is aware of an exchange of surgical skills development between the UK and Uganda, with benefits to patients in both countries from work she undertakes in each.
Brenda is a nurse with theatre and clinical experience in Uro-gynaecology. She has worked as a surgical assistant with Glyn Constantine at the Good Hope hospital Sutton Coldfield for several years. She first became aware of childbirth injuries while attending an international incontinence society meeting in 2004. Although she hadn’t ever worked in Africa she hoped her knowledge and experience would be useful to the charity.
She volunteered to go with Dr. Hancock to Kamuli and fell in love with the place and the patients and has made twice yearly visit with Brian or Glyn ever since. Her theatre experience has been very useful to the team and over the years she has tried to pass on her knowledge to the theatre staff at Kamuli.