Soroti. The construction of the multi-billion specialised hospital meant to benefit obstetric fistula patients in Uganda has been completed.
Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH), whose construction started in March last year, is a subsidiary of The Association for Rehabilitation and Reorientation of Women for Development (TERREWODE), a non-for-profit civil organisation founded in 1999.
The women’s hospital for the treatment and management of fistula and other childbirth-related injuries, said to be the first in East Africa and the third in Africa, is located about 6.5kms on Soroti-Lira highway in Arapai Sub-county, Soroti District.
The hospital, with a 30-bed surgical and 30-bed reintegration capacity, expected to treat and reintegrate up to 600 women per year, will soon be opened to the community.
The hospital’s administrative manager, Mr Monica Opusi, said 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.
“This hospital is going to be totally free, we are not going to charge any money,” Mr Opusi said on Wednesday.
Ms Alice Emasu Seruyange, the founder and executive director of TERREWODE, said the hospital is expected to become operational in July 20019, and it will be officially opened by the President.
“We plan to conduct 200 surgeries, including providing reintegration and rehabilitation services by the end of the year,” Ms Emasu said.
She added that the hospital, whose establishment’s total sum for phase 1 was Sh4.2b, will replicate the model of care provided by the World-famous Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.
The hospital is expected to have one medical director at the beginning, two core nurses, and seven assistant nurses. Plans are also underway to have aesthesis, physiotherapist, lab technician and dispenser.
To date, TERREWODE has supported treatment and reintegrated of more than 5,000 women and girls in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Uganda.
Ms Emasu also commended the Worldwide Fistula Fund of the USA and all our other partners and collaborators, local, national and international for journeying with them in such a milestone.
An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labour, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or faeces or both.
For women with obstructed labour, labour that goes unattended, the labour can last up to six or seven days. The labour 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 labouring mother’s bladder and vagina or between the rectum and vagina. This is what produces incontinence in a fistula patient.
The Ministry of Health currently has 75,000 women living with obstetric fistula, of which 2,000 undergo surgery every year. More than 1,900 new case of obstetric fistula, however, are said to be registered annually. It is also estimated that more than two million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.