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Uganda

Challenged by civil conflict and a huge refugee crisis, Uganda’s health care system struggles to function effectively—driving higher rates of obstetric fistula.

Why We Work in Uganda

Since ending a 20-year insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army in the north, Uganda has enjoyed relative prosperity. Today however, explosive population growth—paired with an influx of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan and the DRC—threatens to undermine this new-found stability.

With one doctor to every 25,000 individuals, the country’s health care services, and maternal services in particular, are struggling to keep up with demand. The maternal mortality rate is among the highest in the world: a Ugandan woman has a one-in-47 chance of dying in childbirth. A 2016 study by the Ministry of Health estimates 200,000 women are living with fistula, and 1,900 new cases occur each year.

Access to fistula treatment remains limited due to a shortage of trained surgeons and medical supplies. Community stigmatization, impassable roads, and high transport costs further exacerbate the challenges a woman faces accessing care. In remote regions of the country, women with fistula suffer, on average, for 11 years before receiving treatment. 

What You Help Us Do

We are investing in the following areas to build Uganda’s in-country medical services and provide life-transforming surgery to as many women as possible:

Meet Our Partners

We are currently partnering with Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda, Kitovu Hospital, and Uganda Village Project to deliver fistula treatment to women in Uganda.

What projects are we currently funding?

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda

Established in 2006, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) provides medical services to people with disabilities in Uganda to improve their quality of life and help them fully integrate in society. CoRSU offers one-week fistula repair clinics twice a year to help women in the region get the treatment they need. CoRSU’s fistula program has been growing in recent years, and it is seeking to establish year-round services to shorten the waiting time for women in need.

Kitovu Hospital in Masaka

Kitovu Hospital in Masaka offers a variety of women’s health services to the surrounding region, including maternal health and fistula care. The hospital hosts 4-6 fistula clinics throughout the year, treating around 60 women at each. Funding from Fistula Foundation supports surgical costs for a portion of these women as well as associated expenses such as meals and follow-up care.

Uganda Village Project (UVP)

Uganda Village Project (UVP) works with marginalized populations in  Eastern Uganda on issues related to health and sustainable development. Through their ‘Fistula Ambassador’ program, fistula survivors are  trained to become ambassadors in their communities and help identify patients for treatment.

Who are our past partners?

Terrewode 

Terrewode is a grassroots organization dedicated to improving maternal health and the lives of women and girls in Uganda. Their fistula program focuses on raising awareness, screening and identifying patients in rural communities, and providing free treatment. During the last grant period, funding from Fistula Foundation supported free treatment for 30 women as well as an outreach and community mobilization campaign.

Kagando Mission Hospital

In the past, Kagando Mission Hospital treated fistula at periodic clinics throughout the year. Thanks to increased capacity and sustained support from Fistula Foundation, they are now able to offer routine fistula services directly at the hospital, including surgery, transportation, accommodation and meal expenses. Past support by Fistula Foundation has also provided small amount of support for surgeon training, new equipment, and counseling/reintegration services.

University of California – San Francisco’s Safe Motherhood Program

It can be very difficult to track obstetric fistula patients after treatment, and little is known about how fistula repair affects a woman’s quality of life and her ability to regain her role in her community. We provided funding to University of California – San Francisco’s Safe Motherhood Program to develop a mixed-methods research project to reduce this knowledge gap through the study “Beyond Repair: Family and Community Reintegration after Obstetric Fistula Surgery.” Their research assessed the success of reintegration to help improve reintegration services for women recovering from fistula.

How much funding have we granted?

Kitovu Hospital

  • Grant pending for FY2019
  • $134,808 in FY2018
  • $29,854 in FY2016
  • $7,430 in FY2015
  • $31,626 in FY2014
  • $15,707 in FY2013
  • $10,000 in FY2012

CoRSU

  • $86,027 in FY2019
  • $115,544 in FY2018
  • $82,499 in FY2017
  • $56,490 in FY2016
  • $22,000 in FY2015
  • $8,000 in FY2014

Uganda Village Project

  • Pending FY2019
  • $48,460 in FY2018
  • $41,877 in FY2017
  • $13,133 in FY2016
  • $25,707 in FY2015
  • $17,801 in FY2013

Kagando Mission Hospital

  • $26,423 in FY2017
  • $43,426 in FY2016
  • $173,250 in FY2015
  • $128,023 in FY2014
  • $25,060 in FY2013

TERREWODE

  • $14,000 in FY2014
  • $175,000 in FY2013
  • $150,000 in FY2012
  • $50,000 in FY2011

UC San Francisco – Safe Motherhood

  • $26,678 in FY2014

 

News from the Field

Meet Dembe from Uganda  •  April 06, 2018
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Dembe did everything right during her pregnancy—she kept up all of her prenatal doctor’s appointments, and made sure that both she and her baby stayed healthy. When her labor began,...
Dembe did everything right during her pregnancy—she kept up all of her prenatal doctor’s appointments, and made sure that both she and her baby stayed healthy. When her labor began, Dembe walked the 10 kilometers from her home to the nearest heath center. She expected a normal delivery, but tragically, this would not come to pass—Dembe experienced a wrenching, prolonged labor, and her child did not survive.
Featured by The Life You Can Save  •  May 06, 2015
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This month, our partners at The Life You Can Save recommended Fistula Foundation as one of eight recommended charities working to restore vital, long-term services to the people of Nepal....
This month, our partners at The Life You Can Save recommended Fistula Foundation as one of eight recommended charities working to restore vital, long-term services to the people of Nepal. Fistula Foundation's work to support the Fistula Ambassador Program run by our partners at the Uganda Village Project was also featured: To view the full newsletter, click here. Publish on: May 6, 2015
Meet Justine From Uganda  •  June 03, 2014
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When her labor pains began, she prepared to go to the hospital but didn’t have enough money to get there. She labored for nearly 24 hours before reaching the closest...
When her labor pains began, she prepared to go to the hospital but didn’t have enough money to get there. She labored for nearly 24 hours before reaching the closest hospital, after gathering sufficient funds from friends and neighbors. The doctor immediately performed a Cesarean section and was able to save the baby, but Justine had developed an obstetric fistula which left her leaking urine.

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