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Uganda — Terrewode Alice Emasu


WFF partners with Terrewode, a local organization headquartered in Soroti, Uganda. Since 2010, WFF has helped Terrewode grow from a regional to national organization. WFF is Terrewode’s oldest supporter.

TERREWODE construction


In 2017, construction began on the Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH) with funding partners Hamlin Fistula USA, International Fistula Alliance and Terrewode Women’s Hospital Fund (formerly Uganda Fistula Fund for Terrewode). To support this massive undertaking, in 2018 WFF awarded Terrewode our largest grant ever: $675,000 over 5 years to help triple the number of women receiving holistic care from 200 women to 600 women per year. Terrewode’s hospital partners have committed to ongoing operating funding. Opened in 2019, the hospital is the site for comprehensive childbirth injury prevention, advocacy, treatment and rehabilitation programs — all delivered under one roof!

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TERREWODE pateint room

Comprehensive Medical Care

Women receive holistic care at TWCH in Soroti, Uganda. Surgical access begins with pre-operative counseling that gives women the peace of mind that their fistula is treatable and, in most cases, curable. Women receive free transportation to surgery performed by trained fistula surgeons, nutritional meals and more during their 2-week hospital stay. They also receive post-operative counseling and recovery services as well as transportation home. WFF Board Member Dr. Tracy Spitznagle is supporting development of physical therapy programmins at  Terrewode.

Bicycle exchange income-generating vocational skills

Social Reintegration Rebuilds Lives

Women with fistula often become isolated from friends and family, unable or not invited to participate in community life. Terrewode offers a wide range of Social Reintegration Programs because rejoining their community and rebuilding their lives requires economic empowerment programming. Reintegration programs have moved from the Women’s Economic Development and Empowerment Center to TWCH.

During a 2-week program, fistula survivors are provided accommodations and meals while they take educational and vocational classes to help lift them from poverty. They are empowered through educational classes about reproductive health, basic literacy and money management courses. This education is the basis upon which women build economic independence.

Women may then choose to learn income-generating vocational skills such as sewing, jewelry making, cooking and catering. Each trade allows them to return home and support themselves and their families.

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When I met with the team from TERREWODE, I told them that I needed to learn some entrepreneurial skills. I informed them of the business I had before. They discussed different business options and appealed to all of us to do something and earn personal income after a fistula treatment


Bicycle Exchange

Transforming Lives through Advocacy

Through our partnership, we provide Community Health Advocate Training to law enforcement officers, medical professionals, educators, community members and members of the media. With training, they join the Obstetric Fistula Awareness and Advocacy Network (OFAAN), a network of more than 1,000 trained outreach volunteers, who travel to communities to identify women with fistula and refer them for treatment. OFAAN training ensures not only wide dissemination of fistula treatment awareness but also prevention messages throughout the country.

Agnes is one of 200 fistula survivors who have undergone extensive training in human rights, leadership, and gender advocacy.

AgnesAgnes’ Story

In the Kapelebyong District of Uganda, Agnes suffered from a prolonged labor and her baby did not survive. During this pregnancy, she developed a slight tear. Although her second pregnancy led to a healthy baby girl, Agnes’s fistula had worsened, and she began leaking urine uncontrollably.

Read More of Agnes’ Story

Free surgeries to women suffering childbirth injuries
Fistula survivors received empowerment and social reintegration training
190 (New!)
Projected small businesses run by fistula survivors and their solidarity groups
Community members reached for Safe Motherhood & Free Treatment
Community advocates trained

WFF believes solving global problems such as devastating childbirth injuries requires a commitment to collaborate with, support and develop local leaders like Alice Emasu.

Alice Emasu, Executive Director of Terrewode and local Ugandan Partner, discusses the importance of Solidarity Groups and supporting fistula survivors through reintegration.

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