Improving maternal healthcare is essential to preventing obstetric fistula. Women and girls must play a central role in leading and informing discussions for change.

We focus on prevention of obstetric fistula using a multi-pronged approach in communities where we work.

At Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital, women receive information on obstetric fistula risks and prevention, safe motherhood education, and family planning. Terrewode staff use routine activities, such as community based screening, as an opportunity to educate the community and share knowledge.

Innovations such as the provision of free Safe Birth Kits make health centers a more attractive place for expectant mothers to attend antenatal clinics and give birth. TERREWODE partners with health facilities to provide the Safe Birth Kits.

Our Obstetric Fistula Awareness and Advocacy Network (OFAAN) is a diverse and vibrant grassroots network of trained outreach volunteers working tirelessly to spread awareness about the causes and risk factors of obstetric fistula in communities.

OFAAN members provide continuous fistula education in communities and assist expectant mothers and their families to plan for the delivery of their baby¬¬–including saving money in preparation for childbirth and to attend antenatal care clinics regularly as per medical recommendations.

Our grassroots Educational School-based Program, run by the OFAAN members in partnership with schools, promote the rights of girls to education, health, and property acquisition. TERREWODE’s School Program educates girl and boy students on the causes and prevention of obstetric fistula.

Music, Drama, and Dance

As part of our Reintegration Program, women use music, drama and dance as part of their healing journey. Later, women have the option to join Music, Drama and Dance (MDD) groups and perform for local secondary schools, community groups, and during advocacy events, such as the International Day to End Fistula. MDD is a powerful, culturally resonate method to deliver messages about fistula awareness, ending child-marriage and gender-based violence.

MDD provides an on-going support network for women and a source of income. MDD groups are also open to male community members, and provide an opportunity for participation and training of men in SRHR and as allies in the movement. 

Music, Drama and Dance performance 	Photo credit: Lynne Dobson, Terrewode Women’s Fund

Music, Drama and Dance performance
Photo credit: Lynne Dobson, Terrewode Women’s Fund

Treatment

For over 15 years, TERREWODE has helped women access treatment for fistula.

Our process is exceptionally successful due to our board grassroots network– first, trained community volunteers help identify women suffering from fistula in their communities. We educate her about the treatment options available and support her at every step of her treatment journey.

We are excited that we are now able to provide world class treatment and rehabilitation of obstetric fistula at Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH), which opened in August 2019.

The Terrewode Women’s Community Hospital (TWCH) will increase the number of women treated for obstetric fistula and related childbirth injuries by 600 per year, greatly increasing Uganda’s current treatment capacity. Women who receive care at TWCH will benefit from expert surgical care delivered in a state-of-the-art facility which focuses on patient-centered care.

In addition, TERREWODE will continue to partner the Ministry of Health and regional referral hospitals in all our areas of operations, including Mulago National Referral Hospital, to support free treatment services for women and girls throughout Uganda. Women who reside at a distance from TWCH are given the option of attending a local public hospital with TERREWODE’s support or traveling to TWCH.

At partner government facilities, we ensure that surgical teams are motivated and medical supplies are available. We also support further these women and their caretakers by meeting their costs of transport to and from the health facility; and related costs for patient care during hospitalization when necessary.