Women with obstetric fistula in Ethiopia: a 6-month follow up after surgical treatment

BJOG. 2008 Nov;115(12):1564-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01900.x.


Objective: To quantify surgical and quality of life outcomes 6 months after obstetric fistula repair.

Design: A prospective study. Women were examined and questioned at discharge and at follow-up appointment.

Setting: The Barhirdar Hamlin Fistula Centre, a dedicated unit treating women with obstetric fistula in northern Ethiopia.

Population: All women admitted to the Barhirdar Hamlin Fistula Centre suffering from vesicovaginal (WF) and rectovaginal fistulae (RVF).

Methods: All women were asked to return for a follow-up appointment 6 months after surgical treatment. A standardised questionnaire and examination were used and information entered into a database.

Main outcomes measures: Urinary and anal continence status; extent of return to previous family situation, employment, social activities and reproductive capabilities.

Results: Continence status at discharge was largely maintained at 6 months and quality of life was improved. Many of those incontinent on discharge improved; a small number apparently cured at discharge had later recurrence of incontinence.

Conclusions: Surgical treatment for obstetric fistula is successful in maintaining continence and improving quality of life of women at 6-months follow up.

MeSH terms

  • Ethiopia
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Rectovaginal Fistula / psychology
  • Rectovaginal Fistula / surgery*
  • Recurrence
  • Suburethral Slings
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / psychology
  • Vesicovaginal Fistula / surgery*