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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

Happy (belated) International Women’s Day to all of the women creating a ripple and impacting the world! Your work is important and perpetually creates change.

In celebration of women around the world, we highlight Tracy Spitznagle’s recent trip to Mekelle, Ethiopia. Partnered with the Worldwide Fistula Fund, Tracy spent time with Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy students in Mekelle, educating and promoting women’s health physical therapy. The Ayder Specialized Hospital affiliated with Mekelle University started in 2008 and has seen substantial growth over the years becoming the largest facility serving the Tigray region in Ethopia.

While at Mekelle Tracy helped to educate practitioners on prolapse and postoperative care. This trip was an interdisciplinary education trip with a team of people that included physicians and a nurse along with Tracy. A highlight of the week for Tracy was a day spent in a simulation lab with Ethiopian midwives, nurses, and physical therapists participating on three ob-gyn related cases. Some of the goals of the simulation lab was to demonstrate how physical therapy can be a part of the team in a hospital for labor and delivery in addition to starting communication amongst various disciplines within the hospital. The three ob-gyn cases included a post-surgical abdominal pain case (where it was found that the catheter was kinked), a post-surgical DVT case (which allowed the team to work together on their communication within multiple disciplines) and a postpartum bleed. Tracy states of her trip that it is “very empowering to be able to do the teaching knowing that the goal is for all those clinicians to continue to work with physical therapy”.

Tracy also spent some time with a new clinician, Hanna, who is a new graduate interested in women’s health. She was able to take that opportunity to connect Hanna with Tsega, a clinician at the hospital, who is eager to mentor her.

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