Yesterday, our implementing partner, CCBRT, was honored to welcome President and Mrs. George W. Bush during a private visit to its facilities. The visit came following President and Mrs Bush’s key note speeches at the Bush Center’s Africa First Ladies Summit: “Investing in women, Strengthening Africa.” In line with the theme of the summit, CCBRT took this opportunity to outline its efforts to rebuild the lives of women with obstetric fistula, empower them both socially and economically through training at the Mabinti Center, and to improve the level of healthcare available to expectant mothers and their newborns.
During their visit to CCBRT’s obstetric fistula department, President and Mrs. Bush heard the story of Halima, who, at just 25 years old, lived with fistula for six months before finally receiving treatment at CCBRT. President and Mrs. Bush listened as Halima told them how she had been referred to hospital for treatment months earlier, but despite advice from doctors, her family took her to a traditional healer. Convinced she was bewitched, Halima lived with incontinence for another 2 months before she was identified by CCBRT’s community outreach team. Halima was finally referred to CCBRT for treatment free of charge, and was given support with the transport costs via Vodafone M-PESA. Clearly moved by her story, President Bush embraced Halima at the end of her testimony and thanked the 40 women that sang to greet the visitors.
On their departure, both President and Mrs. Bush praised CCBRT for our “devoted care” as we strive to help the poorest of the poor in Tanzania and to create a Tanzania where people have access to quality disability services and safe maternal and newborn healthcare.