This book presents the collective wisdom of a group of Obstetrician/Gynecologists (OB/GYNs) from around the world brought together at the 2012 meeting of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) to contribute their ideas and expertise in an effort to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and obstetric fistula in sub Saharan Africa (SSA). The discussions focused on how to increase human capacity in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. The meeting was hosted by the University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Global Initiatives program and was supported through a grant from the Flora Family Foundation.
Within the pages of this document, the current status of women’s health and OB/GYN training programs in 10 sub-Saharan African countries are described, with a Call to Action and Way Forward to training new OBGYNs in country. These are the words of obstetricians in the field, some who work as lone faculty in fledgling OB/GYN departments. These committed people are charged with the task of not only teaching the next generation, but may be the only OBGYN per 500,000 population or more. Their tireless pursuits are recognized, and their yearning for collegial support is palpable.
Every country should have a cadre of highly trained OB/GYNs to teach the next generation, contribute to policy development and advocate for progressive legislation, conduct the research needed to solve local clinical problems, and contribute to the field of women’s health in general. But most of all, it must be recognized that women across the globe have the right to access a full scope and high quality obstetrical and gynecological care when and where they need it. These pages bring to light successes achieved and shared, and lessons learned that have already spurred new programs and given hope to those eager for a new way forward.