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Director’s Notes

First Quarter Programming Update

April 12, 2023

Dear Friends,

Your commitment to preventing and treating childbirth injuries is most appreciated and enables our partners to continue identifying patients, providing surgeries, and delivering empowerment training for women in Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Niger.

I continue to have regular calls with all of our grantees to stay abreast of their activites and troubleshoot when they face challenges. I am currently preparing April grant installment payments to our partners. Here is my first quarter 2023 programs update based on those personal calls.

Save Thursday, May 18th for our event highlighting our February Uganda site visit! You will be treated to pictures, videos and insights from Dr. Spitznagle’s trip to establish the first fistula hospital with professional physical therapy protocols incorporated into routine holistic care — at Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital!

Burkina Faso

Dr. Itengre and ARENA’s 2023 annual goals, objectives & uses for WFF funding:

  • 100 fistula surgeries & 90 fistula survivors trained in small business/vocational skills
  • 60 community events organized and 150,000 reached with prevention messaging
  • 70 community leaders, 100 health workers trained in prevention and patient outreach

First quarter 2023 progress:

  • 52 women’s surgeries to date -mainly patient referrals from other health centers
  • 50 survivors who completed reintegration training were evaluated in follow-up; Many use proceeds from soap sales to re-supply, continue production & sell more
  • One newly established Solidarity Group has registered with the government to travel and mentor new, emerging groups
  • Dr. Itengre expects to have 6-month impact data collected for 100+ patients provided holistic fistula care through ARENA by yearend


Sarah Omega & Let’s End Fistula Initiative 2023 annual goals, objectives & uses for WFF funding:

  • 543 women in 28 Solidarity Groups (SG) will successfully manage 84 Group and 1,026 Individual Income Generating Activities (IGAs)
  • 23 Groups will conduct Safe Motherhood outreach education and pregnancy tracking
  • 9 Young Champions Fistula Clubs (YCFC) with 108 teacher & student members will conduct fistula prevention outreach and advocacy

First quarter 2023 progress:

  • LEFI Leadership is guiding the newest 12 SGs to receive seed funds to support the collective by investing in the strongest group IGA plus invest in individual members by providing microloans to support their individual IGAs
  • The YCFCs are starting to plan for their outreach activities for the year


Danja Fistula Center’s 2023 annual goals, objectives & uses for WFF funding:

  • Fistula surgeries for 170 women
  • 100 fistula survivors trained in small business/vocational skills (Reintegration)
  • 10,000 community members educated through fistula prevention outreach

First quarter 2023 progress:

  • New partner, World Medical Missions, made their first donation of medical supplies
  • Dr. Porter was accepted into the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) certified fistula surgeon training program


Alice Emasu and Terrewode’s 2023 annual goals, objectives & uses for WFF funding:

  • Surgeries for 150 women (100 at TWCH, 50 at partner facilities)
  • 50 fistula survivors trained in small business/vocational skills (Reintegration)
  • 120 new Solidarity Group members training for group activities (each has already completed individual reintegration program)
  • 25 new Obstetric Fistula Awareness and Advocacy Network (OFAAN) members trained

First quarter 2023 progress:

  • Terrewode reengaged a past funder and received their first grant installment payment
  • Progress being made on Strategic Plan for Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital


Dr. Melaku, Director of the Urogynecology Fellowship program at Mekelle University, outlined the training schedule for 2023. In January, Dr. Biniyam passed his exams with distinction and graduated. Drs. Zahara and Mohammed, the remaining two members of the current Fellowship class, will complete their final year of training with five 2-week sessions at multiple Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia sites and Ayder Hospital. We anticipate their graduation in February 2024. A US medical team, funded by WFF, will conduct the November training session in Ethiopia. The US team will provide Fellowship program and Ayder Hospital Pelvic Floor Center assessments with recommendations. This will be WFF’s first Fellowship training trip in 3 years.

Your support makes our work possible. Save Thursday, May 18th for our event highlighting our February Uganda site visit!


Soja Orlowski signature

Soja Orlowski
Executive Director, Worldwide Fistula Fund

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