|Click here for a clip about the Story of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula women in Bwindi|
Because our operating theatre is open 24 hours, the caesarean section rate increased from 5 to 10 per week, majority being referral cases .We perform at least two major operations and 15 minor ones per week. We plan to construct a surgical ward and begin urology and eye surgery camps.
Vesico fistula is a devastating injury in which an abnormal opening forms between a woman's bladder and vagina, resulting in urinary inconvenience. This condition is rare in developed countries, but in developing countries it is a common complication of childbirth resulting from prolonged obstructed labour. Estimates suggest that at least 3 million women in poor countries have unrepaired vesico-vaginal fistulas, and that 30,000-130,000 new cases develop each year in Africa alone.
Among the beneficiaries from this visit, is a woman named Twinomugisha (not her real names) who lives in a region called Rwabutera, a 2 hours walk from BCH. At 29 years old, Twinomugisha has suffered from continuous and unremitting urinary incontinence for the past 12 years. She has endured this condition silently, as her fistula could not be repaired locally.
This situation began when 18 year old Twinomugisha started labour in her remote village supervised by a traditional birth attendant. A subsistence farmer, she did not seek medical attention due to lack of money. After 2 days of labour with no sign of giving birth, she was rushed to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, her baby could not be saved. Moreover, her difficult labor had torn a hole between her bladder and vagina. She returned to her community leaking urine and became a social outcast as a result. She divorced and could not participate in social gatherings such as parties, Sunday church meetings, and funerals. This situation continued until an operation was performed on her last month at BCH.
Twinomugisha is one of the women whose quality of life was dramatically improved from the recent vesco-vaginal camp at the hospital. Two days after the operation, Twinomugisha spoke with a new sense of optimism. She considered the procedure to be the best thing that ever happened to her and loved waking in the morning to find a dry bed. Yet, in a region that is projected to have one of the highest rates of vesico-vaginal fistula in Uganda, doctors speculate that there are many other women like Twinomugisha who could benefit from this collaboration. Women who did not get a chance to attend this obstetric camp can be provided the same service next year in October.
Many thanks to the medical team from Switzerland and specialists from Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital for providing their expertise and time.
We have a dedicated surgical team led by Dr. Gideon Kuriigamba and it holds surgical clinics twice a month and an orthopedic clinic once a month. We regularly host a team of medical specialists from Switzerland for gynecological and surgical activities, also a team from the United States for orthopedic services. These teams selfishly give their time, energy and talent to enrich surgical activities for which we are very grateful.
How you can Help
The costs of running the operating theatre and paying the salaries of the highly trained staff who perform the surgeries and deliver anaesthetics are high. Each Caesarean section costs us $150, and we sometimes perform three a day. But three Caesareans can equal six lives saved. We have received help from the Macauley Foundation (read more) , Medshare and the Swarovski Crystal Society (read more) for this program, but still need more assistance. Any contribution, however large or small, will go directly to helping those most in need.