WAKISO - MPs from West Nile region have advised fistula survivors to form enterprise groups so as to benefit from the Women’s Fund.
The lawmakers who paid a visit to 24 fistula survivors undergoing training at Nsasa village, Kira Municipality in Wakiso district encouraged them not to lose hope but to engage in productive activities that will boost their household incomes and fight poverty.
Maracha Woman MP Rose Ayaka was touched by the testimonies of the survivors and lauded them for coming out and accept to be treated and rehabilitated instead of going into hiding.
It is estimated that two to three million women globally and majorly in Sub- Saharan Africa and Asia suffer from genital fistula, with an annual incidence of 50,000 to 100,000 women.
The main cause is prolonged and neglected obstructed labour in more than 90% of the cases.
Fistula survivor Zainabu Otuwa (also pictured immediately below) wipes out tears after her emotional testimony
Uganda's fistula prevalence is at 2%, with western Uganda having the highest prevalence of 4% among females aged 15 to 49 years.
After listening to the emotional testimonies of survivors, the MPs were moved to do something for the plight of fistula patients.
"I was rejected by my husband, family members and the community at large after seeing constant smelly urine which I was passing day and night.” Zainabu Otuwa couldn’t help but break down in tears.
MP Ayaka pledged to put fistula at the forefront of the parliamentary committee on health agenda on which she sits.
On her part the Arua Woman MP Maurine Osoru appealed to the survivors to remain strong and engage in income-generating activities but more importantly work in groups in order to benefit from the Women’s Fund.
Osoru, who is the youngest MP in the 10th Parliament, pledged to train the survivors in liquid soap-making and gave them sh500, 000 as start up.
Arua Woman MP Maurine Osoru addressing fistula survivors
According to TERREWODE's executive director Alice Emasu Seruyange, the trainings are conducted every two weeks based on the women's reintegration needs.
The workshops are currently hosted at two venues in Soroti and Wakiso to try and respond to the increasing demand from social rehabilitation and reintegration of women and girls affected by fistula countrywide.
Emasu said the scale-up started six years ago but the center was launched in 2013 at the Soroti headquarters and its activities are being replicated in the central sub-region.
The LC1 chairman of Nsasa village in Wakiso district Derrick Lukwago encouraged the survivors to go and get married since they are now living normal lives.
Charles Mupere, a health official of Kira Municipality Health Centre, appealed to the MPs to lobby for an ambulance for the municipality which doesn't have one. "We use Police 999 to transport pregnant women to Mulago Hospital therefore, please help us.”
Maracha Woman MP Rose Ayaka (left) and Arua Woman MP Maurine Osoru interact during the meeting
A survivor shares her story