Recently Dr. Moise Mamouzette took his surgical skills to Rwanda where there is a dire need for his expertise in obstetrics and gynecology.
Mamouzette, a member of the International Organization for Women and Development team of medical professionals, traveled to Rwanda in February with a focus on performing hysterectomies.
“Rwanda has scarce health care and women’s issues are not a priority,” Mamouzette said. “It’s a region that is battling AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.”
He said the comments from the women he has helped in Africa could make you cry. “They are so grateful for the care they receive. It’s refreshing and reminds me of why I became a doctor.”
His first trip to Africa with IOWD was in 2003 traveling to Niger to perform vesicovaginal fistula repair.
According to IOWD fistula is a horrendous condition in women who have had a prolonged and obstructed labor without medical assistance. The wall between the bladder and vagina is damaged by the pressure of the baby’s head and a hole develops. Consequently the woman is constantly leaking urine. Sometimes the rectal wall is also damaged and there is no control of feces.
“The women become ostracized,” Mamouzette said. “Some people believe the woman is being punished by God and they have the devil in them. And the women may become clinically depressed.”
He explained there is an economic urgency for families to marry off girls at a young age. The result is precocious pregnancies and the girls generally have an underdeveloped pelvis making it difficult to deliver a full-term baby. They could labor long and hard and not be anywhere near a medical facility and by the time they get to a hospital it could be too late to save a baby and the damage has been done to the bladder.
On his recent trip to Rwanda, Mamouzette performed hysterectomies with a new piece of equipment called a hysterscope that allows him to perform minimally invasive surgery.
Mamouzette added the various teams of midwives, anesthesiologists, obstetricians and nurses, all volunteers, pay for their own transportation and lodging.
Mamouzette is planning another trip to Rwanda in July and he is taking a fetal monitor with him.
He said there are multiple programs under way to educate the women in Rwanda such as hand sanitation. “Education can put out the fire before it gets started,” Mamouzette said.
He said he feels as an African-American doctor he should help the people in Africa where there is so much need. “What you do is appreciated at such a high level you almost don’t feel worthy.”
Mamouzette began his medical career as a respiratory therapist specializing in high risk neonatal births. He was so moved by saving lives of babies that he decided to become a physician. He earned his medical degree in 1998 from the State University of New York at Stonybrook School of Medicine.
In 2010 he was recruited by the V.I. Department of Health to work in the prenatal department at Charles Harwood Clinic. He has an Ob-Gyn and infertility practice in Estate Glynn in the Agape Building.