Dr Andrew Browning is an Australian trained obstetrician and gynaecologist who has worked in Ethiopia and Tanzania for more than 13 years as a senior fistula surgeon. Andrew spent his elective term at Murgwanza at the beginning of the Rwanda genocide. In 1996 he visited his aunt Valerie Browning and Dr Catherine Hamlin at the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa and was immediately invited to work there.
Three years later he and his wife moved to Barhirdar in the Amhara region where he took charge of the first regional Hamlin Fistula hospital. Whilst there, he sought ways to reduce the incidence of birth injury, usually obstetric fistula, and the high maternal death rate. The Amhara regional health bureau was very keen for him to provide volunteer midwives and obstetricians to provide an emergency maternity service in district hospitals and teach the local staff. He needed funds to support his efforts and this is when the Barbara May Foundation was founded in Australia with the help of his obstetrician father, Dr David Browning in 2009.
Andrew has led a team that have gone on to transform several rundown health centres into safe and functional maternal health centres for poor women, and those living in remote regions.
In an effort to help the more than two million women estimated to be suffering with existing obstetric fistula injuries throughout Africa, Andrew continues to provide Fistula camps in Malawi, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Chad, Uganda, Congo and Togo. Maternity Africa is also training local surgeons in those regions in fistula repair. He also consults on global maternal healthcare issues to United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
How you can help
Programmes supported wholly or in part by the Barbara May Foundation include:
. The building and operations of the Vision Maternity Care Hospital in Barhirdar, Ethiopia.
. The operations of the Barbara May Maternity Hospital in Mille, Ethiopia.
. Maternity Africa - The Selian Hosptial Maternity Unit and Midwife Training Centre in Arusha,Tanzania. This unit also provides obstetric services and an extensive fistula repair programme which includes significant outreach programmes.
. Tertiary education of local medical professionals.