The Association for the Rehabilitation and Re-orientation of Women for Development (TERREWODE) has its headquarter in Soroti, Teso sub-region of eastern Uganda. It is a leading Ugandan non-profit organization (NGO), pioneering best practices to eliminate obstetric fistula in Uganda. It was founded in 1999 by Alice Emasu.
We aim to build capacity for communities to transform conventional healthcare and economic systems to improve the status and livelihood of women and girls, with a focus on maternal and child health.
We have driven the notion of obstetric fistula to become a domestic item in many households in Uganda. Despite this, statistics still indicate that 200,000 women and girl sufferers of fistula are in Uganda. Of these, there are 1,900 new cases yearly due to difficult childbirth. We however, support 600 affected women and girls for free surgeries countrywide annually.
While obstetric fistula affects the family and communities, its effects on the victims are more pronounced in ostracism, trauma and stigma, often leading to absolute poverty. Surgeries alone do not empower them to fight the stigma and reverse the gender and social inequalities in which fistula thrive. Social reintegration therefore, helps the women to walk a new life of dignity. We support 450 women victims of both curable and incurable fistula into our holistic social reintegration program annually. Social reintegration is a process and requires better understanding of the needs of the affected women and girls.
We know that treatment and social reintegration without unlocking the factors that cause obstetric fistula is not the solution. Our holistic approach addresses prevention in a number of innovative ways.
Special thanks to Worldwide Fistula Fund, our lead development partner for the continuous funding support, Uganda Fistula Fund, Oregon State University, The Birthing Project, Fund for Global Human Rights, Global Fund for Women, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, Engender health-Fistula Care Plus, One by One, Islamic Development Bank, Independent Development Fund, Grand Challenges-Canada, Argent Action Fund, Fistula Foundation, European Union, and Ashoka East Africa.
We owe a lot to the “End fistula” campaign in Uganda spearheaded by the Ugandan Ministry of Health, partners and collaborators. Most importantly we acknowledge the endless contribution of local leaders from our areas of operation; most especially the leaders of Teso sub-region.
Building community capacities to systematically empower women and girls to meaningfully participate in development activities to improve their livelihoods, families and communities.
Empowered women and girls embracing the world with improved livelihoods.
Letter From The Director
Local and international attention is galvanizing to eliminate obstetric fistula. Slowly but steadily, the word fistula is becoming a domestic item in many communities in Uganda. Largely, of course, it’s bad news and the world is yet to rejoice success in eliminating fistula thus, we should not be celebrating high numbers in this era.
Statistics indicate thus 200,000 women sufferers are in Uganda, especially within impoverished rural communities. Moreover 1,900 women and girls suffer fistula annually, often following difficult delivery, which in most cases results in stillbirth.
For the women and girls who are successfully surgically treated, one might expect the immediate response to be relief from ostracism, trauma and stigma, but this is not the case. Surgeries alone to reverse incontinence remain inadequate without strategies to wipe away traumatic memories of fistula. Surgeries alone do not empower the affected woman to fight stigma and unlock gender inequalities that perpetrate a cycle of poverty and denial of reproductive rights. Social reintegration therefore helps the women to walk a new life of dignity. It has proven helpful to those women with repeated failed fistula surgeries or incurable fistula conditions. TERREWODE continues to support both curable and incurable categories of women through its innovative and holistic social reintegration program. TERREWODE is happy to share with you the “Tears of Joy” 2014 Annual Report, which is a reflection of progress in its holistic fistula program to achieve a Uganda free from fistula.
Consequently, we identified and supported 600 affected women and girls to access free surgical treatment across the country; thanks to our partners and networks. Gratitude goes to the Ministry of Health, the doctors and the management of Mulago National Referral Hospital, Soroti, Mbale, Moroto, Mubende, Kayunga, Kiryandongo, Mityana, Namayengo, Amolatar and Lira Regional Referral and General Hospitals, including Health Centre IVs.
Social reintegration is a process, but most of the women treated were supported to begin the journey to fully socially reintegrate into communities and live an improved quality of life. The program also builds the capacity of survivors to achieve economic empowerment and self-reliance to support themselves, their families and communities.
Special thanks to the Fistula Foundation, Worldwide Fistula Fund, Islamic Development Bank, Fund for Global Human Rights, Grand Challenges-Canada and Ashoka East Africa. We owe a lot to the “End fistula” campaign in Uganda spearheaded by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. In addition, we are greatful to the efforts by the Fistula Technical Working Group, Engender Health, AmrefHealth Africa, United Nations population Fund and Uganda Fistula Fund.
Regarding the CSO networks; including the Domestic Violence Coalition, HIV/PEP Coalition and the Partnership for Maternal, Child and Newborn Health, we appreciate their collaboration with greate respect. Last but not least, we recognize the support by the District Local Governments, Health facilities and the Obstetric Fistula Awareness and Advocacy Network (OFAAN) members, including the Fistula Survivors Solidarity Groups, the schools and the media especially from our areas of operations. We look forward to continued partnerships in 2016.
Meet our Dedicated Team of Professionals:
Alice Emasu Seruyange
Executive Director TERREWODE and TWCH
Meet Alice, the founder and Executive Director of TERREWODE and TWCH. Alice has a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Cattolica, Italy. Working initially as a journalist, Alice has tirelessly championed the rights of women and girls in Uganda for more than two decades. Alice’s passion to fight for gender equality, economic empowerment, and especially the right to Sexual Reproductive Health and maternal and child health of vulnerable women and girls has been informed by both her childhood and early career work. She has since engaged with the problem of maternal mortality and morbidities utilizing obstetric fistula as a “catalyst for change”. “I have always had a passion for health equity, gender equality and social justice. I look forward to a world where no mother dies in childbirth and no woman suffers an obstetric fistula.”
Lutie Kobusinge has served as TERREWODE’s Finance Manager for over 10 years. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Makerere University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Working with limited resources yet achieving great impact for TERREWODE, Lutie is effectively utilizing her skills to promote financial and accounting best practices at TERREWODE. Her dream is to promote a savings culture with constituents, TERREWODE stakeholders, and community members.
Manager of Community Empowerment Programs
Martha Ibeno has worked for over 10 years for TERREWODE and currently serves as Manager of Community Empowerment Programs. She holds a BA in Social Work and Social Administration, with an emphasis in Psychosocial Support and Counseling, from Makerere University, Uganda. Martha has grown with TERREWODE over the years–first serving as a volunteer, then project officer, and now is part of the Senior Management team. Martha is a skilled counselor, an expert on SRHR in Uganda, and a fierce advocate for improving the lives of vulnerable women and girls. She strongly believes in the power of teamwork and participatory leadership. “I’m committed to serve the most vulnerable women and girls through TERREWODE. I want to see TWCH become the Centre of Excellence in caring for forgotten mothers with fistula,” she says. Martha also holds a of certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building; Gender and Women Studies.
Dr. Josephine Namugenyi
Medical Director and Surgeon
Dr. Josephine Namugenyi serves as both resident doctor and the Medical Director for TWCH. She holds a Master of General Surgery from Nkozi University and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBCh) from Medical University, Russia. Dr. Josephine is a member of the College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa (COSECSA). Dr. Josephine is the driving force behind the TWCH medical team, ensuring that TWCH is replicating the renown Hamlin Model of Care. She is currently working with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), as part of their specialized Fistula Surgery Training Program, which lasts two years.
Human Resource and Administrative Manager
Monica Opus serves as the Human Resource and Administrative Manager for both TERREWODE and TWCH under the organization’s integrated management approach. She brings over 8 years of experience in managing human resource and general administration of civil society organizations in Uganda. Monica is passionate about the welfare of employees and is a staunch advocate for the rights of workers and women in employment.
Rhoda Auma is the Chief Nurse at TWCH. With over eight years of nursing experience, Rhoda brings a blend of medical, administrative and managerial skills to her day-to-day duties. Prior to joining the TWCH team, Rhoda was the Clinical Instructor at the Memorial School in eastern Uganda. Her first placement however was at Matany Hospital in Moroto District– a rural and remote sub-region in northeastern Uganda. It was here that Rhoda became a strong advocate for improved maternal healthcare.
Deputy Chief Nurse and Theater Charge Nurse
Agnes Amidiong is the Deputy Chief Nurse at TWCH and the Charge Nurse of Theater Operations. Agnes was part of the TWCH team who receiving training in fistula care at the legendary Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (HFE). She has thereafter translated the experience into dedicated service at TWCH. Her driving force is achieving health equity for all women. She strives hard to ensure that TWCH is healing space where every patient and staff member is valued.
Peter Icuria oversees the TWCH dispensing unit. He holds a Diploma in Pharmacy from Gulu University, in northern Uganda. Prior to joining TWCH, he was at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital where he worked as a volunteer in the Department of Pharmacy. Peter is practical and says he is determined to “serve to grow and to grow to serve the TERREWODE community”.
Medical Laboratory Technician
Calvin Okwaput serves as the Medical Laboratory Technician. Becoming a laboratory technician was his childhood dream come true, “ I got hooked into providing lab services after seeing numerous patients queuing in vain for lab services at the neighboring Toroma Health Centre in Katakwi District”, he recounts. Calvin holds a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technical Services from Nsambya Laboratory Training School, in Kampala. Upon joining TWCH, Calvin undertook exposure training at the CURE Children’s Hospital, in the neighboring Mbale district.
Community Outreach Manager
Stella Apio has over 9 years experience working with TERREWODE. She currently serves as the Community Outreach Manager and is responsible for coordination with local governments under the decentralization policy of Government. Stella is a skilled counselor and a dedicated women’s rights and SRHR activist. She has a BA in Social Work and Social Administration, with a focus in research and political science, from Makerere University. Stella is a strong community mobilizer and TERREWODE Reintegration Program trainer.
Mary Adiedo Phiona
Program Officer, Psychosocial Support and Counseling Services
Mary Adiedo Phiona has been part of the TERREWODE team for more than 6 years and currently serves as the Psychosocial Support and Counseling Services Program Officer. She holds a BA in Guidance and Counseling from Kyambogo University. Mary is a skillful advocate for women with fistula and effectively uses her counseling skills to provide psychosocial support as part of TERREWODE’s model Reintegration Program.
Finance and Accounts Assistant
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Kyambogo University. Ronald is currently pursuing a professional course (CPA-level II), and he is passionate about professionalism in the accounting field.
Governors of Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital
Dr. Jacinto Amandua Igbea
Dr. Jacinto Amandua Igbea is the chairperson for the Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH) Governance Board. Outside the board, Amandua serves as a senior lecturer (Research) at the Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care, Hospice Africa in Uganda. He served for 18 years at the helm as Commissioner Clinical Services at Ministry of Health in Uganda from where he retired.
He holds a Master of Medicine (MMed) in Internal Medicine from Makerere University Medical School Kampala, Uganda, postgraduate certificate in Health Services Management from the University of Birmingham, UK, Master of Science in Palliative Care from King’s College London, Masters in Business Administration from Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI), and Bachelor of medicine and bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from Makerere University.
He’s a father to five children and five grandchildren. In his free time, Amandua enjoys writing short stories and is currently scribbling a biography on his life story
Dr. Zaam Nalule
Dr. Zaam Nalule has a 10-year experience as medical director of Lifelink Medical Group. She previously served as a study medical officer and researcher at the Fred-Hutchison Uganda Programme on Cancer and Infectious diseases and as a general practitioner at the International Hospital Kampala (IHK).
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBcHB) from Makerere University and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Herriot- Watt University Scotland- Edinburgh Business School.
Nalule is an adventurous person and loves travel and music.
Dr. Tom Charles Otim
Dr. Tom Charles Otim brings to the board over 20 years’ experience working as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist; and over 15 years at senior consultancy level. Much of it was at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and later Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. He has 10 years’ experience in fistula surgery. Currently, Dr. Otim is the director of Lira University Hospital, a position he ascended to after serving four years in the same institution as Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dr. Otim holds a Master of Medicine (obstetrics & gynecology) and Bachelor of medicine and bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from Makerere University Medical School Kampala, Uganda; and a postgraduate diploma in monitoring and evaluation from Uganda Management Institute (UMI)
Outside the surgical theatre, he’s a die-hard fan of the premier league team, Manchester United FC, and always keeps tabs with the team’s progress.
Mrs. Catherine Mwesigwa Kizza
Mrs. Catherine Mwesigwa Kizza is the vice chairperson of the TWCH Governance Board. At New Vision newspaper, she serves as the Deputy Editor. She has been involved in media work for over 15 years. Mwesigwa is a crusader of better maternal health who has trained numerous writers and editors.
Fondly known as Cathy among colleagues and friends, Mwesigwa holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health Leadership from Uganda Christian University and BA Hons in Mass Communication from Makerere University.
She’s married to Peter Kizza, an IT specialist with Bank of Uganda and they are blessed with four children – two girls and two boys. Mwesigwa does church work in her free time and loves choral singing.
Dr. Jacinta Kobusingye Bwegyeme
Dr. Jacinta Kobusingye Bwegyeme is a human resource and management administrator with over 13 years of experience. She is currently a senior lecturer at Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) and previously served as the Dean Faculty of Business Administration at UMU.
Jacinta holds a PhD from Makerere University, Masters in Management Studies (Human Resource) from Uganda Management Institute (UMI), Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies from Uganda Management Institute (UMI) and Bachelor of Arts with Education from Makerere University.
She is married to Deo Bwegyeme, a retired teacher and director of Blessed Hill High School in Wakiso district and the couple is blessed with children. Jacinta loves counseling and mentoring the youths and marrieds in her free time, as she believes this provides the main ingredient in shaping the future of the nation.
He is the principal consultant physiotherapist at Naguru Regional Referral Hospital. He previously served with Mulago National Referral hospital and helped establish a rehabilitation center at Kisiizi hospital.
He holds a Masters of Public Health in Health Promotion from Uganda Martyrs University (UMU), Post-graduate diploma in Health Service Management and leadership from Uganda Institute of Allied Health and Management Sciences, Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Western Cape, South Africa and Diploma in physiotherapy from Uganda Institute of Allied Health and Management Sciences.
Katsigazi is a ‘practicing’ footballer. He formerly played with Kampala City Council FC (KCC FC) and still occasionally plays with the ex-international team at Lugogo whenever the event is on.
Dr. Robert Olupot
Dr. Robert Olupot is the Medical Director and consultant surgeon on fistula at Kumi Hospital-Ongino. Olupot has close to 17 years of administrative and clinical experience in the area of fistula and urology surgeries.
He holds a Master of Medicine (Surgery) from Makerere University Medical School Kampala, Uganda, and Bachelor of medicine and bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from Makerere University. He is a regular volunteer on Mercyships on field services in the West African countries and Madagascar.
In his free time, Dr. Olupot tends to his citrus farm, spends time with family or watches documentaries on politics and technology on television.
Dr. Lewis L. Wall
Lewis Wall is a professor in Arts and Sciences for Medical Anthropology and professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.
One of the country’s first fellowship-trained urogynecologists, Dr. Wall is board-certified in the sub-specialty of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and carry out research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University in northern Ethiopia in 2014.
Dr. Wall has been active in the field of obstetric fistula as a patient advocate, fundraiser, and surgeon.
Martin Andrews is the executive director of the International Fistula Alliance (IFA) and a co-opted member of the board of TWCH. He has a wide range of experience in obstetric fistula and maternal health projects in Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and The Gambia and is the former CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia where he was responsible for managing and overseeing 6 specialist fistula hospitals across the Ethiopia.
Prior to this Martin spent 25 years in the construction industry and has developed hospitals and healthcare facilities around the globe.
Martin is a regular visitor to Uganda and has been supporting the TERREWODE team in establishing the Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TCWH) since 2016 with a particular emphasis on governance, finance, construction, and organisation development.
Bonnie Ruder is the Executive Director of the Terrewode Women’s Fund (TWF) and a co-opted member of the board of TWCH. She is a medical anthropologist and licensed midwife who has worked on a number of maternal health and obstetric fistula projects in Uganda, Somalia, The Gambia, Haiti, and Zimbabwe.
In cooperation with TERREWODE, Bonnie frequently works in Uganda and has conducted research on obstetric fistula and traditional birth attendants, residual incontinence post-fistula repair, and young women’s experience with fistula.
Prior to working for TWF, Bonnie attended births as a licensed midwife in the U.S. for over 20 years. She is dedicated to improving maternal healthcare worldwide and helping women with obstetric fistula access holistic treatment.