In October 2014, our Medical & Programs Director, Dr. Steve Arrowsmith, and Communications Associate, Ashley Burke, set off for East Africa to represent Fistula Foundation at the 2014 ISOFS conference. While in the region, they also had the opportunity to visit several of our partner sites in Uganda, Kenya & Rwanda. Here is a highlight from their trip.
Two hours outside of Kampala lies the town of Iganga, home of our partner Uganda Village Project (UVP). UVP is a small international organization that works with the local community to promote public health and sustainable development. With funding from Fistula Foundation, UVP has started a ‘Fistula Ambassador’ program in Iganga. Through this program, fistula survivors are trained to become ambassadors in their own communities in order to raise awareness about fistula and help identify new patients. So far, 18 ambassadors have been trained and more patients are being identified and referred for treatment than ever.
In addition to the Fistula Ambassador program, funding from Fistula Foundation supports the transportation and meal costs of patients staying at nearby Kamuli Mission Hospital during periodic surgical clinics. Dr. Arrowsmith and Ashley were fortunate enough to be visiting during one of these clinics and had the opportunity to travel to Kamuli and visit with fistula surgeons and patients. The medical team there is led by Dr. Brian Hancock, an expert fistula surgeon from the UK who has been doing fistula clinics at Kamuli Hospital for over 40 years!