'I taught myself fistula surgery with the help of a patient'

On World Fistula Day, 23 May, we speak with Dr Andrew Browning, who was awarded an AM in this year's Australia Day honours for his service to the international community through the provision of obstetric care to women in Africa, which included performing 7000 fistula repairs over 13 years.

What inspired you to become an obstetrician-gynaecologist?

That’s a funny thing because my father is an obstetrician-gynaecologist and I grew up seeing the lifestyle he led. We rarely saw him as a child. So, I swore that I would never be an obstetrician-gynaecologist. But here I am, an obstetrician-gynaecologist.

As a junior doctor after finishing my internship and residency at Gosford Hospital, NSW, I went to Ethiopia to work in the desert with my aunt, Valerie Browning AM, who is a midwife in the Ethiopian desert and has been in the horn of Africa since