Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship Fundraiser

Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship Fundraiser

Worlds Apart. Standing Together.

Medicine for Humanity is committed to healing women and training doctors.




Left to Raise

With your help, we intend to raise $25,000 to create a Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship to provide a full year of specialized training to a Ugandan physician in the field of
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

  • This program will give rise to a future leader in the field of women’s health.
  • It will build capacity within the Ugandan health care system to care for its most vulnerable members- women and mothers.

Please give what you can.

Current Third Year Residents at Mbarara University of Science & Technology (MUST)

Your donations will allow a physician to become a specialist in the field of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

Our Work

We are healing women and training doctors.

Medicine for Humanity is a medical care and teaching organization that has been restoring dignity, hope and quality of life to women for over 25 years.

  • Fistula surgery and recovery care
  • Center for Gynecologic and Fistula Care
  • Patient education seminars
  • On-site surgical training program
  • Medical education for resident doctors, nurses, and medical students
  • Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship

We believe ensuring the health of mothers leads to a healthy community.

Women in Uganda cope with challenged access to healthcare, particularly basic obstetrical services. As a result, nearly 2,000 women each year develop obstetric fistula, a devastating injury to the birth canal causing urinary incontinence. It is estimated that 200,000 Ugandan women suffer from this condition. Our current goal is to reduce the societal burden of fistula in this part of the world. We are healing women by providing life-altering surgical care. Our surgical programs, staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses, provide surgery, transportation, food, housing, medical support, and postoperative care at no cost to our patients.

Our Local Champion: Dr. Musa Kayondo

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

Dr. Musa Kayondo serves as Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and head of the Fistula plus Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) Division at Mbarara University of Science & Technology (MUST).

As a young resident doctor in 2009, Dr. Kayondo was the first graduate of Medicine for Humanity’s collaborative FPMRS program at MUST. Currently, Dr. Kayondo, in his role as Chair, leads the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program and serves as Head of our newly developed clinical Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship.

Dr. Kayondo is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of Medicine for Humanity’s established fistula training programs year-round. His commitment to the women we heal and the doctors we train is the reason that our work in Uganda is so successful.

Our Fistula Care Center

Medicine for Humanity’s recurring presence has served to transform Mbarara into a true center of excellence in the care of obstetrical fistula.

Medicine for Humanity collaborates with the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at Mbarara University Teaching Hospital with our local champion physician, Dr. Musa Kayondo. We created a training track for our high-volume fistula program, which allows Ugandan Ob/Gyn residents the opportunity to participate in at least three surgical programs. We are creating life-long impact by training doctors.

More On Our Fistula Care Center

Our Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship: Dr. Paul Kato

Medicine for Humanity is creating an annual Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship Program to train a Ugandan Obstetrician Gynecologist and future leader in the field of women’s health.

Specialty training of a physician in Urogynecology will contribute to women’s health and empowerment in Uganda and East Africa. This will be a powerful investment in professionals who can increase access to health care throughout the nation.

More On Our Urogynecology Leadership Fellow

Center for Gynecologic & Fistula Care

Center for Gynecologic & Fistula Care

You made this happen! You created a place where women and mothers can commune, recover, and heal with dignity.

During our annual surgical program, the women and mothers seeking fistula repair have had to recover from surgery in tents, sheds, and other temporary shelters. Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital was overwhelmed with patients and limited space.

In 2018, to increase capacity and support our vision, we created the Center for Gynecologic & Fistula Care. It is a 50-bed care facility with an on-site procedure room, doctors’ offices, nursing station, and conference room to support medical education.

This year-round surgical ward ensures that our patients will NEVER again have to convalesce on the floor while healing from surgery.

Watch How We Built Hope

With the support of our donors, Medicine for Humanity completed construction of a new ward in 2018.

Dr. Musa Kayondo & Dr. Christopher Tarnay celebrate the new Center for Gynecologic & Fistula Care

For questions, please contact Shelley O’Connor at 310-489-2197 or shelley@virtualoconnor.com.

What is fistula?

Fistula is the most heartbreaking condition you’ve never heard of.

An obstetric fistula is a birth injury to a mother caused by a prolonged, obstructed labor. It most commonly occurs among women who live in developing countries, who give birth without adequate access to Caesarean section.

A fistula is a passage or hole between two organs in the body.

An obstetric fistula is a passage between a woman’s vagina and her bladder and/or rectum. This abnormal communication develops at the end of pregnancy when labor is obstructed and lasts many hours or days.  The pressure of the baby’s head against the mother’s pelvis cuts off blood supply to the surrounding tissues in the birth canal.

Two million women suffer from fistula worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in Uganda alone there are over 200,000 women enduring life with fistula. For every woman that gets treatment over 50 women go without.

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Lack of timely medical intervention, including extremely limited access to emergency Caesarean sections, forces women to endure life-threatening labor.

The consequences of the hours or days of obstructed labor are tragic:

  • the baby often dies in utero from prolonged lack of oxygen
  • the mother is left with severe physical injuries: obstetric fistula, causing uncontrollable, chronic incontinence that leads to extreme social stigmatization.
  • These women are often abandoned by husbands and outcast from society and work.
  • They suffer kidney disorders, skin infections, severe depression, neurological problems like foot drop and even death if left untreated

Obstetric fistulas are entirely preventable and correctable.

Obstetric fistula occurs most often among impoverished girls and women, especially those living in regions without adequate medical services.   Affecting the most powerless members of society, obstetric fistula touches issues related to reproductive health and rights, gender equality, poverty and adolescent reproductive health.

Our Roots

Taking action for the less fortunate.

In 1995, while on safari in Kenya, Dr. Leo Lagasse, a gynecologic oncologist, and his wife Ann, herself a nurse, were deeply moved by the plight and suffering of local women who lacked access to proper health care. Upon their return to Malibu, Dr. Lagasse called upon his UCLA colleagues and organized a group of volunteer physicians to return to Africa where Medicine for Humanity was conceived.

For 20 years, the Lagasses led volunteer teams of highly trained, dedicated UCLA physicians and nurses all over the world from the Philippines, South Africa, Mongolia, Nepal, Mexico, Malawi, Uzbekistan, Poland, Croatia, Costa Rica, Panama, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Niger, Eritrea, Kenya, Cameroon, and Tanzania. Focusing on the care of women with gynecologic cancers, performing life sparing surgery, creating programs for the early detection of cervix cancer, and assisting communities with educational outreach have been the hallmarks of Medicine for Humanity for the last two decades.

“We know helping to improve women’s health creates healthier families, communities and countries."

— Dr. Leo Lagasse, MFH Founder

More on Dr. Lagasse

In 2009, the Lagasses invited Dr. Christopher Tarnay, a Urogynecologist from UCLA, to accompany them to Mbarara, Uganda. Recognizing the skill and effort of his Ugandan counterparts coupled with the absolute abject poverty and need of these most deserving of patients, Dr. Tarnay was “hooked.”  The Lagasses’ recognized Dr. Tarnay’s passion, newfound commitment and a new chapter of MFH unfolded.  

Dr. Tarnay now serves as Medicine for Humanity's President and Medical Director.

With a focus on treating obstetric fistula and other childbirth injuries, Dr. Tarnay directs our annual two-week fistula surgical program at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, a teaching hospital in Southwest Uganda.

More on what we do now

The Lagasses created a “long arm of Malibu,” which has reached and extended itself across the globe. 

We continue to sustain this outreach with hopes of greater transformational impact on the healthcare profession and ultimately the health and wellness of women and mothers worldwide.


Medicine for Humanity is healing women and training doctors.

We believe every woman should have the opportunity to be healed from the devastating effects of childbirth injuries.

See What Hope Looks Like »

Healing Women.

There is a shocking shortage of medical services in the developing world, and facilities primarily dedicated to fistula repair are a rarity.

Medicine for Humanity is restoring hope and dignity to women and mothers in Uganda by making access to care possible.

  • Fistula surgery and recovery care
  • Center for Gynecologic and Fistula Care
  • Patient education seminars

Our Fistula Care Center

Training Doctors.

There exists a tremendous gap between the number of women who need care and the number of skilled healthcare workers who can provide it.

Medicine for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating health disparities and changing that paradigm.  We are working to address inequity by creating capacity and building a future by training a new generation of Ugandan doctors and nurses.

  • On-site surgical training program
  • Medical education lecture series provided on-site and remotely for resident doctors, nurses and medical students 
  • Urogynecology Leadership Fellowship

Meet Our Current Fellow

What We've Done


Fistula & reparative surgeries performed


Doctors and advocates trained


C-sections Performed

Watch how Medicine for Humanity is changing lives.

Our Partners

"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." - African Proverb

View Our Partners

“This problem is not a decided fate.”

- Abby, 46 years old

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