Sister Rita Schiffer, an obstetrician-gynecologist from Germany, has served at Attat Hospital in Attat, Ethiopia, for the past 19 years. Now its Medical Director, she has seen a great improvement in the health conditions of women coming to the hospital for difficult births. This in great part is due to the Medical Mission Sisters’ extensive safe motherhood program and to the “Waiting Area” they constructed on the hospital grounds for delivery of the highest risk mothers-to-be.
Born in 1957, Sister Rita entered our Community in 1978 during her medical studies. She made First Vows in 1980 and her Final Vows in 1986. Sister served as an Ob-Gyn doctor in Ghana, then Germany, before being missioned to Ethiopia.
Recently interviewed by Global Reports of the National Catholic Reporter newspaper, Sister Rita says, “When a group works in the same project it can really change things. Instead of every 10 years, going in this direction and then in that direction, the continuity of a religious group is good for a project. Although the people may change, the direction or the priorities remain the same.”
In her almost two decades at Attat Hospital, Sister has experienced many changes including a notable reduction in the occurrence of fistula damage in women during labor and delivery. She also is helping to lead the way in diagnosing and treating cervical cancer.