Our team

Meet the volunteers and trustees

Dr Brian Hancock, Retired surgeon, Trustee

Brian Hancock MD. FRCS  is a retired colorectal surgeon from the University Hospital of South Manchester.   40 years ago, Brian worked as a general surgeon in Kamuli Hospital, Uganda where he first encountered obstetric fistulae and performed simple repairs helped by Chassar Moir’s classic textbook.  He has made several visits to the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa to learn and later to help with complex recto-vaginal fistulae.  Brian was a trustee of Hamlin Fistula  UK for 30 years and is now an honorary vice president of the UK branch of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

Since his retirement in 2000 he has spent three months each year in Africa making visits to several hospitals in Uganda and has worked as a fistula surgeon and trainer with Mercy Ships in many West African countries.

Brian has spent the last 18 years improving the lives of many young women in Uganda.  He continues to teach fistula surgery to younger surgeons and has published a training book that is widely used by fistula surgeons in developing countries. He continues to visit Kamuli Mission hospital intermittently, but has now hung up his own scalpel.

Brian’s local Rotary Club has awarded him a Paul Harris Fellowship for the work he has done in Uganda, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist  awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 2010

Dr Mhairi Collie, Surgeon, Chair and Trustee

MhairiCollie, who has taken over from Brian as chair of UCIF, is a colo-rectal surgeon based in Edinburgh, married with 2 children and one springer spaniel.  She is seen here with her Ugandan Colleague Dr Ian Asiimwe.  

She has been visiting Africa regularly since 1999, and has been treating obstetric fistulae patients there since 2001.  She mainly visits Uganda, although she has worked in Ethiopia and Ghana in the past and has visited the world-famous Addis Ababa Fistula hospital. 

She is passionate about helping fistula sufferers – having become aware of the terrible, life-shattering consequences of obstructed labour and fistulae.  Seeing the transformation of the lives of those patients after successful surgery motivates her very strongly to keep trying to raise the profile of these patients and to try to keep going out to Uganda to undertake surgery in special surgical camps.  

At present she visits 2-3 times per year in her own time.   In the UK, Mhairi has a specialist interest in treating patients with incontinence.   She is aware of an exchange of surgical skills development between the UK and Uganda, with benefits to patients in both countries from work she undertakes in each.

Ishbel Campbell, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Secretary and Trustee

Ishbel Campbell is an advanced nurse practitioner in general practice living and working in West Lothian just outside Edinburgh in Scotland. Married with 2 grown up sons and spends her free time competing in triathlon events. She has a particular interest in teaching and has recently completed her Masters in advanced clinical nursing practice. She is seen here with Nabbagala Joan, one of our very competent fistula nurses from Kamuli.

Ishbel joined Mhairi in 2013 with a visit to Kamuli hospital to work alongside the Ugandan nurses in caring for fistula patients on the ward. Since then we have developed a team of Ugandan nurses at Kamuli who are well able to care for the fistula patients, providing high quality care helping to improve the surgical outcomes. Working alongside the nurses is what Ishbel enjoys most, having fun with them and seeing the huge difference the surgery makes to these women’s lives. This is what brings her back to Uganda every year, with a real love of the country and the Ugandan people.

Dr Kate Darlow, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Trustee

Kate Darlow is a mother of two children and an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in the Scottish Borders.  Her passion for working in Africa has grown over the years, having gone to primary school in Mogadishu, Somalia, spent time in Malawi as a medical student and worked in Ethiopia as an Obstetrician.  She has been part of the UCIF team since 2014 and is now a trustee of the charity.  As well as being one of the operating team, Kate is responsible for keeping our data and outcomes up to date.

Kate describes the two camps which she attends each year as ‘the most challenging but rewarding weeks of her year.’  The highlights are – arriving on the first day to see all the women waiting for the camp to start and the wonderful warm welcome we receive from the nursing staff, the skills shared in the operating theatre and the joy on the women’s faces as they recuperate with new friends on the ward after their operations. 

Christine Wood, Senior Midwife, Trustee

Christine joined the UCIF team in 2015, and as a midwife in the group has a special interest in education and fistula prevention . This means that in addition to working on the fistula ward she has also developed links with the traditional birth attendants and their educators . In 2017 she delivered our 1st UCIF baby to Johanna, one of our long-standing fistula nurses.

Christine is married to Woody, mum to Frazer, Calum and Cara and grandmother to Harvey. She loves the outdoors and walking her much loved dog Mabel.

She has always had an interest in women’s health and trained as a nurse and subsequently a midwife in 1991. Her day job is as charge midwife in labour ward ,in a busy tertiary maternity unit in Edinburgh.

She has an absolute love for Uganda and a commitment to the ongoing work of UCIF.

Sarah Fraser (Scruffy), Accountant, Trustee

Sarah is our charity accountant and trustee. She lives in Edinburgh and has 2 grown up daughters, Katherine and Joanna.

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