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A hospital & rehabilitation center for today and the future

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Terrewode Women's Community Hospital is the first and only medical facility of its kind in Uganda offering specialized care, social support, and reintegration services for women with obstetric fistula. In addition to state-of-the-art health care, the hospital advances initiatives to prevent fistula, improve maternal health, and empower economic self-sufficiency among girls and women.

A nurturing environment equipped to treat hundreds women each year

Janet Alubo developed an obstetric fistula after three days of labor with her fifth child. She was able to get a C-section and the baby survived, but she developed a fistula causing chronic incontinence. Her husband, Felix, supported her but the shame she felt caused her to withdraw from church and every other public function. Terrewode helped Janet access free fistula repair surgery, as well as empowerment and vocational training.

5 Steps
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5 Key Components of Terrewode’s Obstetric Fistula Program . . .

  1. TREATMENT    |    At full capacity, Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital will provide 600 women a year with high-quality, holistic fistula treatment, including care before surgery that promotes healing after surgery. The hospital has improved surgical success rates through comprehensive, patient-centered care, including optimal nutrition and the necessary rest post-surgery to allow for full healing. The hospital also provides follow-up care, which is critically important in achieving long-term continence, yet is rarely provided in underfunded government facilities.

  2. REINTEGRATION    |    Surgery alone is not enough to heal from the trauma of obstetric fistula. Even after successful surgery, many women report lingering distress, depression, family discord and other challenges. Terrewode’s reintegration program includes:

    • Individual, family, and marital counseling

    • Education about safe motherhood and family planning

    • Training on legal and economic rights, advocacy and empowerment

    • Social support as women return to their communities 

    • Life skills, microfinance education, entrepreneurship, and income-generating skills such as making and selling goat milk soap.

    • Fistula Solidarity Groups facilitated by Terrewode provide ongoing social support as women return to their communities, including co-counseling, micro-savings groups, self-reliance after fistula and opportunities to identify and support other women suffering from fistula. 

  3. PREVENTION    |    Fistula survivors in Terrewode’s prevention program sing, share personal stories, and dance to raise awareness about the causes of fistula and strategies to prevent it. Other prevention strategies include radio ads about fistula and safe motherhood, innovative school programs informing high school youth about the dangers of child marriage and teen pregnancy, both causes of Uganda’s high rates of fistula and maternal death. Plans are underway to build capacity for providing safe delivery services at Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital in the coming years.

  4. AWARENESS & ADVOCACY    |     Terrewode trains a vibrant grassroots network of outreach volunteers who lead community activities to raise awareness about the cause and prevention of fistula. Volunteers identify and refer women for fistula treatment and support women as they return to their communities. All volunteers and fistula survivors receive education about their sexual and reproductive health rights, as well as tools and mentoring to advocate for their rights.

  5. RESEARCH    |    Terrewode has a robust research program to examine the needs of women with fistula, test and improve programs, treatment, and reintegration outcomes, and ultimately move the field of fistula knowledge forward.

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Terrewode Women's Community Hospital Co-founder Alice Emasu speaks to survivors in a Fistula Solidarity Group which provides ongoing social support as women reintegrate into their communities.

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