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A community-based long-term follow up of women undergoing obstetric fistula repair in rural Ethiopia

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H S Nielsen, L Lindberg, U Nygaard, H Aytenfisu, O L Johnston, B Sørensen, Peter Martin Rudnicki, M Crangle, R Lawson, S Duffy

OBJECTIVES: To assess urinary and reproductive health and quality of life following surgical repair of obstetric fistula. DESIGN: Follow-up study. SETTING: A newly established fistula clinic (2004) at Gimbie Adventist Hospital, a 71-bedded district general hospital in West Wollega Zone, in rural Western Ethiopia. POPULATION: Thirty-eight women (86%) of 44 who had undergone fistula repair were identified in their community. METHODS: Community-based structured interviews 14-28 months following fistula repair, using a customised questionnaire addressing urinary health, reproductive health and quality of life. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Urinary health at follow up was assessed as completely dry, stress or urge incontinence, or fistula. King's Health Questionnaire was modified and used for the quality-of-life assessment. RESULTS: At follow up, 21 women (57%) were completely dry, 13 (35%) suffered from stress or urge incontinence and three (8%) had a persistent fistula. Surgery improved quality of life and facilitated social reintegration to a level comparable to that experienced before fistula development for both women who were dry and those with residual incontinence (P = 0.001). For women still suffering from fistula no change was seen (P = 0.1). Four women became pregnant following their surgery, among which there was one maternal death, three stillbirths and one re-occurrence of fistula. CONCLUSION: Community-based, long-term follow up after fistula repair succeeded in Western rural Ethiopia. Despite one-third still suffering stress or urge incontinence, the women reported improved quality of life and social reintegration after fistula closure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1258-64
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Ethiopia; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Length of Stay; Middle Aged; Patient Satisfaction; Quality of Life; Rural Health; Treatment Outcome; Urinary Incontinence; Vesicovaginal Fistula; Young Adult

ID: 20196028