Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | There are plans to set up a specialized hospital in Uganda to treat the increasing number of women who succumb to fistula. The Terrewode Hospital & Rehabilitation Center will also serve as a centre of excellence and a demonstration facility for surgical training programmes that will offer psychosocial rehabilitation for fistula survivors.
While addressing Ugandans in the Diaspora who are attending the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) Convention on Saturday, 02nd September 2017 in Miami, Florida, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said that working with Parliament and with support from partners, the fistula hospital that will be built in Soroti in 2018 would be the first of its kind on the African continent.
“In Kampala there are people who don’t understand our work and complain about us (legislators) coming to UNAA. We have been working with partners since 2013 and we are going to build a fistula hospital in Soroti,” she said adding that “over a million dollars has been raised and all this is coming out of the work of UNAA and the Uganda Parliament.”
Kadaga explained that fistula, if not managed well leads to death during childbirth.
She said fistula is shrouded in stigma and most of the sufferers are isolated by the community.
According to UNFPA, Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. It is a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour, without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment or a caesarean section. It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems.
“Recently, I saw a man who has been with his wife who had fistula for 18 years. I nominated this man for an award of a hero because if he could look after his wife for 18 years, without abandoning her, he is a hero in the year of the family in Uganda,” Kadaga said.
It is hoped that the Terrewode Hospital will increase the number of surgeries to 1,000 per year, almost double Uganda’s current treatment capacity. Currently, a surgical operation to treat fistula is estimated at Ushs 2 million.
Besides offering cutting-edge treatment to sufferers, the hospital will rebuild the lives of fistula survivors through counselling, health education and training in income generating activities.