Update on Covid-19 in Uganda and Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital

Dear Friends of Terrewode:

When we opened the Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH) last August, we knew we would face challenges, but we never envisioned a global pandemic sweeping the world less than a year later. With half the world now under lockdown orders, we have entered a time in history with a clear before and after.

We know that many of you are struggling with the impact of the virus on your family, your livelihood, and your community. You are in our thoughts. We know you are also concerned about the women you support at TWCH.

The effect this virus could have in Uganda is almost unthinkable. Social distancing is the only practical mechanism available to stem the transmission and prevent widespread mortality in this environment.

Steps of TERREWODE ‘s Covid-19 response:

  • Director Alice Emasu suspended surgeries at TWCH on March 6th. The last of the fistula patients were discharged on March 23rd after staff ensured safe transport home. Following discharge, Alice and Dr. Josephine Namugenyi closed the hospital so staff members could return home before the national lock-down went into effect.

  • Since TWCH is specialized for fistula treatment and doesn't have the PPE, respiratory expertise, or ventilators needed, Alice and her team have concluded that at this point the hospital would not be useful in providing care to corona patients, though they will continue to monitor the situation.

  • Two issues have come to the forefront–first, there has been a daily increase in the number of domestic violence cases among fistula survivors. Alice and the TERREWODE team are regularly checking on former patients, counseling women via phone, and for at-risk women, providing small mobile cash-transfers.

  • The second is a rise in reports of maternal morbidities, with increased mortality likely to follow. Both public and private transportation has been halted. Women in Uganda already struggled to access quality maternity care during labor––this new order makes it nearly impossible. Alice and her team are reaching out to the media and health authorities to highlight the plight of mothers and make sure their needs are met.

To help TERREWODE reach women who are now isolated and dealing with childbirth and domestic violence, go to https://www.terrewodewomensfund.org/contribute

We know you are inundated with news and want to respect your time while continuing to provide you with the latest news about TWCH. As we gather more news we will be regularly updating our website and social media feeds on Facebook and Instagram. We will also provide you with an opportunity to dial in to a Zoom update call on April 23, where I will share the latest updates from Alice and you can ask questions in real time.

Thank you for your support,

Bonnie

P.S. I found that these articles useful and thought you might as well.

About the current situation in Uganda:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/29/coronavirus-uganda-used-to-lockdowns-poor-healthcare-but-we-are-terrified

Impacts on women’s health:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic-hit-women-harder-than-men/

About anticipatory grief:

https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief


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Terrewode Women's Fund

2293 Alder Street

Eugene, Oregon 97405

info@terrewodewomensfund.org

EIN 47-230-4060

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Photos by Lynne Dobson and Joni Kabana