We are a charity dedicated to helping women who have suffered permanent injuries during childbirth.
Over 80% of these cases can be cured by surgery, yet some women have lived with the distressing effects of their injuries for over 20 years. They suffer from pain, incontinence and social isolation. Treatment can be complex and requires particular surgical and nursing expertise.
Our charity originated in Uganda with volunteer nurses and doctors helping to provide treatment for these injuries for over 30 years. Many of the patients live in rural areas where there is a shortage of trained surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses. We have formed close working relationships with our African colleagues, working alongside them and providing training opportunities.
We plan and attend fistula camps in various locations in Uganda throughout the year. We work with Ugandan partners in Kamuli Mission Hospital, Kitovu Mission Hospital, Kagadi Regional Hospital, Kuluva Mission Hospital and St Anthonys Hospital, Tororo. Together with our Ugandan colleagues, we find patients, assess their problems, then undertake 30 to 40 surgical procedures over the course of each week's visit. The patients are looked after in the hospital for a few weeks after their operations and followed up when back home. The local nurses and doctors keep in touch with us and we follow up any problems together on our next visit.
Training and Partnership
Partnership with our medical and nursing colleagues in Uganda is at the heart of our charity. Our working relationships give everyone great joy and encouragement and are a source on ongoing education for everyone. We provide surgical support to the Ugandan theatre teams, and postoperative care on the wards. We concentrate particularly on working alongside ward staff to ensure optimal postoperative care for fistula patients, with careful plans for the days after we have left. UCIF supports the fistula nurses in gaining skills through our competency based fistula nursing program. We work together with Ugandan doctors and surgeons in hospitals served by experienced surgeons, and in hospitals managing without specialist surgeons on site. UCIF supports surgical training for doctors motivated to undertake fistula surgery also.
We hope to expand our work to other fistula affected countries in Africa and extend our support in training and ongoing support to local fistula surgeons and nurses.
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