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Tears for My Sisters

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’All staff working in obstetrics and gynaecology should read this book, as well as students in the field, as they would all gain insight into this problem’

Title: Tears for My Sisters

Author: L Lewis Wall

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Jane Brown, Quality Governance Manager Specialised Clinical Services Division Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

This is an incredibly powerful but also dreadful book, in that the horrendous health problems it describes are avoidable, even in low-resource countries. Tears for My Sisters contains accounts of women who experienced an obstetric fistula and described it as ‘a living death’. In the UK, we often complain about our health service but, in reality, we are very lucky to have it, as it protects us from the pains and struggles described here. Written in a way that brings to life these women’s experiences, this book is a plea for putting an end to the horrors of obstetric fistulas.

What were the highlights?

This book outlines the history of obstetric fistula treatment, the current situation, and a way forward to empower women who still suffer because of this condition. I hope it will help to improve or even save lives. This is the 21st century, and no one should be suffering as some of the women in the book are. The treatment of women in some developing countries is medieval: they do not only go through horrific health issues, but are also ostracised from their communities. The stories of these women highlight a plight that must be recognised and acted upon.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The author has researched his subject well. He is a professor in anthropology as well as in obstetrics and gynaecology, and was therefore well equipped to write the book. The writing is good and I found the book easy to read, although I knew little about the subject. The only weakness is the size of the font – I wear reading glasses but needed a magnifying glass to read this. Perhaps the publishers need to do something about this, as it might put readers off.

Who should read it?

All staff working in obstetrics and gynaecology should read this book, as well as students in the field, as they would all gain insight into this problem. It would also be a useful read for people working in overseas charities, who could be inspired to try to improve these women’s lives.

tears for my sister

tears for my sister





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