Sr Dr Maura Lynch (1938–2017)

Sr Dr Maura Lynch was a surgeon who revolutionised obstetric fistula care in Uganda. Born in Youghal, Co Cork in 1938, Lynch joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary aged seventeen before studying medicine at UCD. She earned a diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and then studied tropical medicine and Portuguese in Lisbon so that her order could send her to Angola. After nearly twenty years of clinical work in Angola, Lynch saw that the need for a specialist surgeon in the country was not being met. She therefore at the age of forty-seven undertook further study in Ireland and obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1985. After another two years in Angola Lynch was reassigned to Uganda, where she would remain for the next thirty years. Lynch is credited with more than 1,000 vesicovaginal fistula repairs, all the while raising funds for, and awareness of, what is generally considered a disease of poverty.