In October 2014, our Medical & Programs Director, Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, and Communications Associate, Ashley Burke, traveled to East Africa to represent Fistula Foundation at the 2014 ISOFS conference. While in the region, they also had the opportunity to visit several of our partner sites in Uganda, Kenya & Rwanda. Here is a highlight from their trip.
Kigali is the bustling capital city of Rwanda. It is home to one of the country’s most prominent hospitals and one of our newest partners, the University Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK). Funding from Fistula Foundation is helping to establish Rwanda’s first routine fistula care program, which will ensure women have access to fistula repair surgeries year-round. In addition, funding will support the training of local surgeons under our longtime partner surgeon, Dr. Lauri Romanzi.
While in Kigali, Ms. Burke had the opportunity to tour CHUK and visit with Umuhoza, a courageous young woman (pictured above) who has been at the hospital for nearly six months. She arrived with massive vaginal and rectal fistulas, a bone infection, and could barely walk. Her labor and delivery were so traumatizing that she does not remember any details, but doctors estimate she was in labor for at least five days based on the extent of the damage. Thanks to the dedicated care of the fistula team at CHUK, however, her fistulas and related complications have been successfully healed; she is even up and walking again, though slowly. We are confident that this new project at CHUK will help many more women like Umuhoza to regain their health.