The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has defended the engagement of Uganda’s Parliament with the international community as a force for good that is bearing fruits for hundreds if not thousands of Ugandans.
Kadaga pointed to advanced plans to construct a state of the art specialized hospital for Fistula victims in Soroti to treat the increasing number of women who succumb to the problem.
Dubbed the Terrewode Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre, the hospital will also serve as a centre of excellence and a demonstration facility for surgical training programmes that will offer psychosocial rehabilitation for fistula survivors.
While addressing Ugandans in the Diaspora who were attending the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) Convention on Saturday, 2017 in Miami, Florida, USA, the Kadaga said that working with Parliament and with support from partners, the fistula hospital will be built in Soroti in 2018 and would be the first of its kind on the African continent.
“In Kampala there are people who don’t understand our work and complain about us (legislators) coming to UNAA. We have been working with partners since 2013 and we are going to build a fistula hospital in Soroti,” she said adding that “over a million dollars has been raised and all this is coming out of the work of UNAA and the Uganda Parliament.”
Kadaga explained that fistula, if not managed well leads to death during childbirth.
She said Fistula is shrouded in stigma and most of the sufferers are isolated by the community.
According to UNFPA, Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. It is a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour, without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment or a caesarean section. It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems.
“Recently, I saw a man who has been with his wife who had fistula for 18 years. I nominated this man for an award of a hero because if he could look after his wife for 18 years, without abandoning her, he is a hero in the year of the family in Uganda,” Kadaga said.
It is hoped that the Terrewode Hospital will increase the number of surgeries to 1,000 per year, almost double Uganda’s current treatment capacity. Currently, a surgical operation to treat fistula is estimated at Ushs 2 million.
The planned hospital, when completed, will also be a welcome and timely boost to efforts by Buganda Kingdom’s efforts to address the problem.
Through the annual Kabaka’s Birthday Run, hundreds of millions of shillings have been raised in recent years to offer free fistula treatment to victims.