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Professor Rane joins ranks of Queensland Greats

Published:  14 June 2021

As if it wasn’t already a huge week for Townsville, one of the city’s most prominent surgeons, Townsville University Hospital’s Professor Ajay Rane, has been named a Queensland Great.

Professor Rane was recognised at an awards ceremony hosted by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Brisbane this week for his work both locally and across the developing world as a champion for women’s reproductive rights and for the care of women with urinary incontinence and pelvic dysfunction.

“This award recognises women in regional North Queensland and their reproductive rights, and I am truly humbled by the honour,” Professor Rane said.

“Globally, and locally, the issues of women’s reproductive rights and function remain my priority and this award highlights the plight of women all over the world.

“I am so very grateful for the life and work I have in Queensland and there is no better place from which to champion the cause of women and to support those who have suffered birth trauma to heal.”

Professor Rane was founding Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at James Cook University’s School of Medicine and established Queensland’s first non-metropolitan urogynaecology service at Townsville University Hospital, creating a local service for women suffering incontinence.

For more than 20 years he has galvanised the global medial community to treat women, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, with fistula, the abnormal opening between the vagina and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged and obstructed labour.

In 2020, Professor Rane was one of three international doctors and the only Australian to be awarded an honorary fellowship of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) for his work in in treating fistula as a human rights issue.

“Shining a light on this issue helps us understand as a global community we all play a role in supporting women and women’s health, including their reproductive health,” he said.

Since COVID put an end to international travel, Professor Rane has taken to technology delivering more than 100 webinars to doctors around the world and using a mobile phone to guide surgeons in operating theatres from Kenya to the Congo.

“COVID changed everything but I couldn’t sit back and let two decades of supporting women slip away.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Board Chair Tony Mooney said it was a proud day for the health service, the city, and the state.

“Professor Rane is a leading humanitarian, academic and surgeon and although English-born and Indian-raised he is, more than anything, a proud Queensland son,” he said.

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