“Life Changing Moments” is a 501 c3 non-profit organization founded by Urogynecologist Sherry Thomas. Its mission is help women suffering with fistulas and to provide formal urogynecology/ female pelvic post-residency training to physicians in rural areas of third world countries.
CNN covered Dr. Sherry Thomas’ Medical Mission in Uganda, Africa.
Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labor without prompt medical intervention. The woman is left with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby.
Like maternal mortality, a fistula is almost entirely preventable-usually by cesarean section. This nightmare of living with fistulas is virtually unknown in the West because of our advanced medical care. But in Africa, where there is very little prenatal care and no hospitals close by, women who try to deliver their child at home can have serious complications. Their baby can become lodged in the birth canal and the resulting pressure cuts off blood to vital tissues and causes holes in their bowels and/or bladders. At least 2 million women in Africa suffer with the condition.
“I always knew what life was like in a third world country,” says Dr. Thomas, “but I never knew what medical care was like. When I realized how easy it was to fix, I had to help.”
Dr. Thomas produced a movie about the experience called “Life Changing Moments.” The documentary follows both an American and African woman through their experience with fistula. The movie can be seen at the non-profit organizations website Life Changing Moments.
In December 2018 to mid-January 2019, Dr. Sherry Thomas found herself volunteering at the Asili Health Center in rural Uganda, Africa for Ssubi is hope—a 501©3 non-profit organization and charity founded in 2010 by Laura Luxemburg. Based on her charity, Life Changing Moments, it is not surprising Dr. Sherry Thomas’ values and Ssubi’s are aligned— she believes in a sustainable lifestyle, and the ability to access healthcare no matter where you are born.
Ssubi is hope maintains a volunteer program which allows for global action at a local level. Dr. Thomas volunteered her knowledge as a skillfully trained female pelvic reconstructive surgeon in treating severe pelvic disorders—not surprising given her philanthropic nature and core values to improve women’s health. She was brought to teach physicians and nurse midwives how to perform fistula surgery and the prevention of for the duration of her trip, in rural Uganda.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Thomas fell into the role of acting medical director for Asili Health Center. She facilitated the hiring of an expert surgeon in the country, demonstrated to the nurses and physicians new techniques, facilitated the hiring of an anesthesiologist out of UC San Diego, demonstrated how to diagnose for prolapse and for urinary incontinence by performing a transvaginal tape sling, and pessary.