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In the News

WFF’s 9-year Partner Finishes Hospital Construction

June 18, 2019


Soroti, Uganda — Women and girls with childbirth injuries officially have a place to call their own in East Africa.

Worldwide Fistula Fund’s (WFF) long-time partner, TERREWODE, has completed construction on the TERREWODE Women’s Community Hospital. Women and girls with childbirth injuries such as obstetric fistula – a devastating malady developed during obstructed childbirth that leaves women incontinent – will receive holistic care under one state-of-the-art roof in Uganda.

“We’ve seen time and time again that women with childbirth injuries do not get the care they need at general hospitals or health centers,” WFF Executive Director Soja Orlowski said. “This hospital will be so much more than just a hospital. For many women, it will be the first place they’ve felt at home since they were injured.”

An estimated 75,000 women live with obstetric fistula in Uganda and over 1,900 new cases of fistula develop each year, according to the Ugandan Ministry of Health. Obstetric fistula persists in the developing world because of the prevalence of practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, home births, and inaccessible quality obstetric care and information.

WFF and TERREWODE have treated 1,097 women with childbirth injuries since partnering in 2010. In 2017, WFF awarded TERREWODE its largest grant ever: $675,000 over five years to help TERREWODE triple the number of women it treats each year from 200 to 600.

The hospital is the first of its kind in East Africa and the third in Africa. It will officially open in August and is expected to treat 200 women before 2019 ends. The hospital has 30 surgical beds and 30 reintegration beds. It will treat and reintegrate up to 600 women each year at capacity.

“We are so grateful to the Worldwide Fistula Fund and all our other partners and collaborators, both local, national and international, for journeying along with us this far,” said Alice Emasu, TERREWODE Executive Director, in a press release.

WFF will celebrate with TERREWODE at the grand opening in August and plans to help develop a physical therapy program at the hospital. Dr. Spitznagle, a Professor of Physical Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis and WFF Board Director, will be working closely with hospital staff to develop the program. Physical therapy can be vital to full recovery after fistula surgery because it strengthens pelvic floor muscles that have weakened because of stress from the injury.

“We are committed to helping the TERREWODE Women’s Community Hospital reach its full potential for the women of Uganda,” Orlowski said. “No woman should have to suffer in her own waste day and night. This hospital will be a model in Africa of what fistula care can and should look like.”

WFF continues to support its other programs in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya and Niger.

About Worldwide Fistula Fund

WFF protects and restores the health and dignity of the world's most vulnerable women by preventing and treating devastating childbirth injuries. WFF strategically partners with local leaders and organizations in low-resource countries to increase capacity to address women’s healthcare needs.

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