The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has broken ground for the construction of a US$1 million hospital for treating women suffering from fistula and related childbirth complications.
The first phase of Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital, which will be located in Arapai, Soroti district, will provide women suffering from the complication in the region with surgical rehabilitation services.
“I have been blasted for attending the Uganda North American Association (UNAA) Conference yet this initiative is as a result of lobbying the Ugandans in the diaspora to invest in their country and in such initiatives,” the Speaker said.
Kadaga said the hospital will provide a solution for Ugandans who cannot go to Ethiopia which has the only other hospital on the continent that handles fistula patients. She thanked everyone who has been involved in the initiative and pledged to continue supporting the campaign against fistula.
The Minister of State for Disaster, Hon. Musa Ecweru, said that the location of the hospital was the centre of misunderstanding between government and the young people at Arapai many years ago.
“This place used to be an area of conflict and I am glad that it is going to be a place of healing for the women and the society,” he said.
Hon. Ecweru added that whoever was known to be suffering from fistula faced a lot of ridicule and therefore, “this hospital is a saviour”.
Soroti district Woman MP, Hon. Angeline Ossege said she believes women were losing their marriages to fistula.
“Whenever women contract this disease, they end up being chased from their homes because it has no cure,” she said adding, “This hospital is welcome as it will be a big solution to our problem.”
The Executive Director of Terrewode, Alice Emasu, said the hospital is expected to be functional by 2019 and will be working closely with government health services.
“My motivation comes from the fact that 16 years ago the local government welcomed a campaign against fistula; I also have women leaders who have backed me in this fight,” Emasu noted, adding that “This is my contribution to the development of this country.”
Emasu said that Terrewode has supported about 4000 women in the fight against this disease and, “We hope to carry on the fight with all the support we can get”.
Emasu further said that they have been able to collect US$1 million to the construction of the first phase of the hospital.
She added that the hospital will have a second phase which will provide maternal services.
The hospital is an initiative of the Terrewode Organisation, a Ugandan based NGO focused on vulnerable women, with the support from Uganda Fistula Fund, UNFPA and International Fistula Alliance.
The hospital will also provide research on fistula, training for medical students and Health workers in the region.