PIC: Kadaga and other officials unveiling the foundation stone for the womens hospital on Friday (Credit: Emmanuel Alomu)
INFRASTRUCTURE | HEALTH
SOROTI - Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has launched the construction of the Terrewode Women's Community Hospital (TWCH) in Uganda.
Terrewode is the Association for Rehabilitation and Re-orientation of Women for Development.
Kadaga laid the foundation stone as the chief guest during the ground breaking ceremony to mark the start of the construction of a specialised hospital for women in Uganda in Awasi village, Arapai sub-county in Soroti district.
The health facility will sit on six-acres of land, which was purchased using the Uganda fistula fund.
The objective of the women's hospital is to provide health services for obstetric fistula and other child birth-related injuries.
The first phase of the facility, which will be constructed by Gabikan Engineering Limited Construction Company at $1.6m (sh5.8b), will take eight months. The funds were got from the International Fistula Alliance.
Moses Kinobe, the supervising architecture of the project, said three blocks meant for administration, surgical and reintegration will be constructed in the first phase.
In the second phase, Kinobe said the maternity, out-patient department and staff quarters' blocks will also be constructed to enable Terrewode to provide maternal services.
Alice Emasu, the executive director Terrewode, disclosed that the hospital will replicate aspects of Dr Catherine Hamlin Ethiopia's fistula care model and it will support Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
According to Emasu, the local government leaders in Soroti started a campaign against fistula 16 years ago, adding that over 4,000 women in Teso have so far been supported by Terrewode in collaboration with the health ministry and its partners such as United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), AMREF and Gender Health.
Emasu said the majority of fistula victims are of teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
"We have not done much towards prevention, but even then, rehabilitation and reintegration is still key for these women and we still have cases coming up," she said.
Kadaga (centre) and other government officials at the foundation stone of Womens hospital on friday. (Credit: Emmanuel Alomu)
She urged the residents of Soroti to support the girl child so that they can achieve greater opportunities and contribute towards the development of the country.
Kadaga said the hospital in Soroti is the second in Africa, after the one in Ethiopia.
"This facility will be a centre for East Africa as most of them cannot travel to Ethiopia. Thank you Terrewode," Kadaga said.
Kadaga pledged support for the project until all the three stages of the construction are complete.
Musa Ecweru, the state minister for disaster preparedness, expressed joy over the fact that Awasi village, which was the Lord's Resistance Army stronghold, would be turned into a place to save life.
The country representative for Gender Health USAID, Dr Ruth Mukisa, said they were at advanced stages of a study that is going to inform the country in terms on how women can be socially integrated.
Angelline Osegge, the Soroti district Woman MP, noted that women in Soroti have lost family because of fistula. She thanked Terrewode and the Gvernment for the facility.
Osegge and the district chairperson, Girigori Mikairi Egunyu, asked the Government to address the problem of lack of a refrigerator, board and ambulance at the Soroti Regional Referral Hospital mortuary.
Francis Engwau, who was representing the country representative of UNFPA, said the vision to end fistula is being spearheaded by UNFPA and Gender health.
However, Engwau said many people lack access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, including lifesaving emergency obstetric care, which results in maternal deaths and fistula.
In Uganda, obstetric fistula still remains a major public health problem with over 140,000 women living with fistula. Reports indicate that Uganda registers 1,900 cases of fistula per year.
Although repairs are carried out every year, a good proportion of women with obstetric fistula are not receiving the required treatment, leaving a backlog in the communities.
"This new hospital will, therefore, provide the Government with an opportunity to prevent treat and care for those who receive surgery,"Engwau said.