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  • Terrewode Women's Fund

Hospital Launch Announcement, Ribbon Cutting to Mark Opening of TERREWODE Women’s Community Hospital

SOROTI, UGANDA & SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – Aug. 16, 2019 – A community event and ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the Grand Opening of TERREWODE’s hospital in Uganda East Africa dedicated to the treatment of fistula and other childbirth injuries – TERREWODE Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH), opening August 16 in Soroti, Uganda. The Uganda Fistula Fund, now known as Terrewode Women’s Fund (TWF), (a US based Nongovernmental Organization) has long supported the establishment of the TWCH both technically and financially.

The hospital, with a 30-bed surgical and 30-bed reintegration capacity, will treat and reintegrate up to 600 women per year. According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda currently has 114,000 women living with obstetric fistula out of which 2,000 undergo treatment surgery per annum. Over 1,900 new cases of obstetric fistula, however, are registered annually.

To date, TERREWODE, a registered Ugandan nongovernment organization, has supported treatment and reintegration of over 5,000 women and girls in partnership with the Ministry of Health. In the first 4 months after opening, the hospital plans to conduct 200 surgeries, including providing reintegration and rehabilitation services.

As part of the grand opening celebration, the Seattle-based Terrewode Women’s Fund sponsored a ribbon cutting and community celebration in conjunction with the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA). The Seattle, WA event took place July 20, 2019, at Steele Lake Park, Federal Way, Washington.

“We are excited to open this dedicated fistula hospital,” said Sharon Howe, Board President of TWF. “TERREWODE has an eighteen year track record providing fistula surgery and reintegration services in Uganda. Now, with this dedicated hospital, we can improve access to care and serve hundreds more women every year who are in desperate need of the surgical expertise and wraparound health and reintegration solutions this new facility will provide.”

Alice Emasu Seruyange, Founder and Executive Director of TERREWODE, said, “This new hospital will have an immediate and long-lasting positive impact on the community. We are proud to be offering this specialized care for our women close to home and by doctors and social workers from within the Ugandan community.”

“A focus on quality, timely and patient-focused care are the hallmarks of what the community can expect from the TERREWODE Women’s Community Hospital,” said Bonnie Ruder, Executive Director of TWF. “From the moment the patient walks through our doors, the hospital’s experienced staff is ready to meet her needs in a way that is respectful, skilled and compassionate.”

TWCH will also serve as a Center of Excellence and demonstration facility. The center will facilitate surgical training programs and help foster innovation in techniques and methods for physical and psychosocial rehabilitation of fistula survivors. In addition, the hospital will facilitate inter-regional collaboration to bring greater awareness and resources to fistula treatment and prevention.

An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both. For women with obstructed labor, labor that goes unattended, the labor can last up to six or seven days. The labor produces contractions that push the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvic bone. The soft tissues between the baby’s head and the pelvic bone are compressed and do not receive adequate blood flow. The lack of blood flow causes this delicate tissue to die, and where it dies holes are created between the laboring mother’s bladder and vagina or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient. Obstetric fistula can be avoided by delaying the age of the first pregnancy, timely access to obstetric care and the cessation of harmful traditional practices such as women producing many children.

Alice Emasu Seruyange, Founder and Executive Director of TERREWODE, said, “We are thankful for the Terrewode Women's Fund and all our other partners and collaborators, both local, national, and international for journeying along with us so far. We look forward to your being with us in solidarity during the upcoming hospital launch, either in attendance or in spirit.”


Terrewode Women’s Fund, formerly known as the Uganda Fistula Fund, has financially supported TERREWODE for five years, providing funding to build the TERREWODE Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH) in Soroti, Uganda, for fistula surgeries and needed health services that change the lives of thousands of women.

Upon completion of the hospital campaign, and with a goal of expanding support of TERREWODE’s work to women’s health issues besides fistula, we have changed our name. Through TERREWODE, TWF promotes holistic care, reintegration services and job training for women who have suffered the debilitating and long-term effects of obstetric fistula and other childbirth injuries.

ABOUT TERREWODE Since 1999, TERREWODE has offered support to women in the Teso Region of Uganda. TERREWODE is a registered Ugandan nonprofit, founded, directed and staffed by Ugandan health professionals. TERREWODE’s leadership and staff are all Ugandan, led by the co-founder, Alice Emasu Seruyange, MSW graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Unique to fistula programs, TERREWODE incorporates a community outreach program to identify women with fistula and provide surgical repairs. More information is available at

ABOUT UNAA The Ugandan North American Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the state of Massachusetts and the largest non-political formal association of Ugandans in the diaspora. UNAA Board Trustee John Agaba is a member of Board of Directors with Terrewode Women's Fund.

CONTACT: Bonnie Ruder, Executive Director,

Sharon Howe, President, at 206-949-5136,


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