Fitsari 'dan Duniya. An African (Hausa) praise song about vesicovaginal fistulas

Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Dec;100(6):1328-32. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(02)02498-5.


The vesicovaginal fistula from prolonged obstructed labor is a condition that is no longer seen in the affluent, industrialized world, yet it continues to exist in epidemic proportions in sub-Saharan Africa, where several million women are estimated to suffer from this condition. The unremitting urinary incontinence that is produced by a fistula causes these women to become social outcasts. The problem is particularly acute in Nigeria, where the Federal Ministry of Women's Affairs estimates that there may be as many as 800,000 unrepaired fistula cases. Because of the social stigma attached to their condition, fistula victims have often been subjected to major psychosocial trauma. Finding ways to help such patients reintegrate into social networks is an important part of their treatment. When fistula patients meet one another, they realize that they are not alone in their suffering. This article describes the use of a "praise song" by a group of Nigerian fistula patients as a vehicle for building group identity as part of a "sisterhood of suffering." A transcription and translation of a Hausa praise song about vesicovaginal fistulas is presented, along with a commentary on the text that sheds new light on a problem that is unfamiliar to most Western obstetrician-gynecologists.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Black People
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Music Therapy*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / diagnosis
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / psychology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / epidemiology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / etiology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / psychology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / therapy*