Obstetric fistula is a maternal morbidity condition that occurs in some low-income countries and is caused by prolonged obstructed labor that results in a hole between the vagina and the bladder or rectum through which urine or feces leak. Unrepaired fistula can lead to lifelong ostracism, stigma, and shame. Obstetric fistula is preventable and treatable, but women in these countries experience delays in seeking repair due to a number of factors including awareness of their condition as well as the potential for treatment, resources necessary for seeking care, lack of skilled fistula surgeons, and long hospital waiting times. UNFPA estimates that 2 to 3.5 million women are currently living with fistula worldwide. The true number may actually be higher. This review aims to identify and understand the barriers affecting women’s access to fistula repair, to inform the design of possible interventions that may be effective in addressing these barriers. This work may also identify research gaps surrounding fistula in low-income countries that require targeted formative research before interventions can be designed.
Bellows, Benjamin, Rachel Bach, Zoe Baker, and Charlotte E. Warren. 2014. "Barriers to obstetric fistula treatment in low-income countries: A systematic review." Nairobi: Population Council. Version of record: https://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.12893
Reducing Barriers to Fistula Care