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1.  Community-based screening for obstetric fistula in Nigeria: a novel approach 
Obstetric fistula continues to have devastating effects on the physical, social, and economic lives of thousands of women in many low-resource settings. Governments require credible estimates of the backlog of existing cases requiring care to effectively plan for the treatment of fistula cases. Our study aims to quantify the backlog of obstetric fistula cases within two states via community-based screenings and to assess the questions in the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) fistula module.
The screening sites, all lower level health facilities, were selected based on their geographic coverage, prior relationships with the communities and availability of fistula surgery facilities in the state. This cross-sectional study included women who presented for fistula screenings at study facilities based on their perceived fistula-like symptoms. Research assistants administered the pre-screening questionnaire. Nurse-midwives then conducted a medical exam. Univariate and bivariate analyses are presented.
A total of 268 women attended the screenings. Based on the pre-screening interview, the backlog of fistula cases reported was 75 (28% of women screened). The backlog identified after the medical exam was 26 fistula cases (29.5% of women screened) in Kebbi State sites and 12 cases in Cross River State sites (6.7%). Verification assessment showed that the DHS questionnaire had 92% sensitivity, 83% specificity with 47% positive predictive value and 98% negative predictive value for identifying women afflicted by fistula among women who came for the screenings.
This methodology, involving effective, locally appropriate messaging and community outreach followed up with medical examination by nurse-midwives at lower level facilities, is challenging, but represents a promising approach to identify the backlog of women needing surgery and to link them with surgical facilities.
PMCID: PMC3905156  PMID: 24456506
Fistula; Genito-urinary; Recto-vaginal; Prolapse; Community; Backlog; Africa; Program
2.  Urinary tract infection among obstetric fistula patients at Gondar University Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:12.
Many women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. In developing countries particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where access to emergency obstetrical care is often limited, obstetric fistula usually occurs as a result of prolonged obstructed labour. Obstetric fistula patients have many social and health related problems like urinary tract infections (UTIs). Despite this reality there was limited data on prevalence UTIs on those patients in Ethiopia. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, drug susceptibility pattern and associated risk factors of UTI among obstetric fistula patients at Gondar University Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia.
A cross sectional study was conducted from January to May, 2013 at Gondar University Hospital. From each post repair obstetric fistula patients, socio-demographic and UTIs associated risk factors were collected by using a structured questionnaire. After the removal of their catheters, the mid-stream urine was collected and cultured on CLED. After overnight incubation, significant bacteriuria was sub-cultured on Blood Agar Plate (BAP) and MacConkey (MAC). The bacterial species were identified by series of biochemical tests. Antibiotic susceptibility test was done by disc diffusion method. Data was entered and analyzed by using SPSS version 20.
A total of 53 post repair obstetric fistula patients were included for the determination of bacterial isolate and 28 (52.8%) of them had significant bacteriuria. Majority of the bacterial isolates, 26 (92.9%), were gram negative bacteria and the predominant ones were Citrobacter 13 (24.5%) and E. coli 6 (11.3%). Enterobacter, E.coli and Proteus mirabilis were 100% resistant to tetracycline. Enterobacter, Proteus mirabilis, Klebsella pneumonia, Klebsella ozenae and Staphylococcus aureus were also 100% resistant to ceftriaxone.
The prevalence of bacterial isolates in obstetric fistula patients was high and majority of the isolates were gram negative bacteria. Even thought the predominant bacterial isolates were Citrobacter and E. coli, all of the bacterial isolates had multiple antibiotic resistance patterns which alert health profession to look better treatment for these patients.
PMCID: PMC3898405  PMID: 24438201
UTI; Obstetric Fistula; Gondar University hospital
3.  Current practices in treatment of female genital fistula: a cross sectional study 
Maternal outcomes in most countries of the developed world are good. However, in many developing/resource-poor countries, maternal outcomes are bleaker: Every year, more than 500,000 women die in childbirth, mostly in resource-poor countries. Those who survive often suffer from severe and long-term morbidities. One of the most devastating injuries is obstetric fistula, occurring most often in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Fistula treatment and care are available in many countries across Africa and Asia, but there is a lack of reliable data around clinical factors associated with the success of fistula repair surgery. Most published research has been retrospective. While these studies have provided useful information about the care and treatment of fistula, they are limited by the design. This study was designed to identify practices in care that could lead to the design of prospective and randomized controlled trials.
Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 40 surgeons known to provide fistula treatment services in Africa and Asia at private and government hospitals. The questionnaire was divided into three parts to address the following issues: prophylactic use of antibiotics before, during, and after fistula surgery; urethral catheter management; and management practices for patients with urinary incontinence following fistula repair.
The results provide a glimpse into current practices in fistula treatment and care across a wide swath of geographic, economic, and organizational considerations. There is consensus in treatment in some areas (routine use of prophylactic antibiotics, limited bed rest until the catheter is removed, nonsurgical treatment for postsurgical incontinence), while there are wide variations in practice in other areas (duration of catheter use, surgical treatments for postsurgical incontinence). These findings are based on a small sample and do not allow for recommending changes in clinical care, but they point to issues for possible clinical trial research that would contribute to more efficient and effective fistula care.
The findings from the survey allowed us to consider clinical practices most influential in the cost, efficacy, and safety of fistula treatment. These considerations led us to formulate recommendations for eight randomized controlled trials on the following subjects: 1) Efficacy/safety of short-term catheterization; 2) efficacy of surgical and nonsurgical therapies for urinary incontinence; 3) technical measures during fistula repair to reduce the incidence of post-surgery incontinence; 4) identification of predictive factors for "incurable fistula"; 5) usefulness of urodynamic studies in the management of urinary incontinence; 6) incidence and significance of multi-drug resistant bacteria in the fistula population; 7) primary management of small, new fistulas by catheter drainage; and 8) antibiotic prophylaxis in fistula repair.
PMCID: PMC2995487  PMID: 21067606
4.  A population based survey in Ethiopia using questionnaire as proxy to estimate obstetric fistula prevalence: results from demographic and health survey 
Reproductive Health  2013;10:14.
Obstetric Fistula (OF) remains a major public health problem in areas where unattended obstructed labor is common and maternal mortality is high. Obstetric Fistula was able to be prevented, treated and eradicated in high-income countries; however, it still affects many women in low-income countries. To our knowledge, only few studies have described the prevalence and factors associated with Obstetric Fistula in Ethiopia in population-based surveys.
The aim of this study is to describe the prevalence and factors associated with Obstetric Fistula in Ethiopia.
The study used women’s dataset from the 2005 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey. The survey sample was designed to provide national, urban/rural, and regional representative estimates of key health and demographic indicators. The sample was selected using a two-stage stratified sampling process. OF was measured using questionnaire. The data is analyzed using descriptive and multivariate statistical methods to determine factors associated with Obstetric Fistula.
A total of 14,070 women of reproductive age group were included in the survey. Of which 23.2% ever heard of obstetric fistula. Among women who ever given birth (9,713), some 103 (1.06%, 95% CI; 0.89%-1.31%) experienced obstetric fistula in their lifetime, which means 10.6 per 1000 women who ever gave birth. It is estimated that in Ethiopia nearly 142,387 (95% CI: 115,080-169,694) of obstetric fistula patients exist. Those women who are circumcised had higher odds of reporting the condition (Chi square = 4.41, p-value = 0.036). In the logistic regression model women from rural areas were less likely to report obstetric fistula than their urban counterparts (OR = 0.21, 95% CI: 0.06-0.69). Women who gave birth 10 or more had higher odds of developing obstetric fistula than women with 1-4 child (OR = 4.34; 95% CI; 1.29-14.55).
Obstetric fistula is a major public and reproductive health concern in Ethiopia. This calls for increased access to emergency obstetric care, expansion of fistula repair service and active finding of women with OF with campaigns of ending fistula is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3598195  PMID: 23432944
5.  Overcoming phase 1 delays: the critical component of obstetric fistula prevention programs in resource-poor countries 
An obstetric fistula is a traumatic childbirth injury that occurs when labor is obstructed and delivery is delayed. Prolonged obstructed labor leads to the destruction of the tissues that normally separate the bladder from the vagina and creates a passageway (fistula) through which urine leaks continuously. Women with a fistula become social outcasts. Universal high-quality maternity care has eliminated the obstetric fistula in wealthy countries, but millions of women in resource-poor nations still experience prolonged labor and tens of thousands of new fistula sufferers are added to the millions of pre-existing cases each year. This article discusses fistula prevention in developing countries, focusing on the factors which delay treatment of prolonged labor.
Obstetric fistulas can be prevented through contraception, avoiding obstructed labor, or improving outcomes for women who develop obstructed labor. Contraception is of little use to women who are already pregnant and there is no reliable screening test to predict obstruction in advance of labor. Improving the outcome of obstructed labor depends on prompt diagnosis and timely intervention (usually by cesarean section). Because obstetric fistulas are caused by tissue compression, the time interval from obstruction to delivery is critical. This time interval is often extended by delays in deciding to seek care, delays in arriving at a hospital, and delays in accessing treatment after arrival. Communities can reasonably demand that governments and healthcare institutions improve the second (transportation) and third (treatment) phases of delay. Initial delays in seeking hospital care are caused by failure to recognize that labor is prolonged, confusion concerning what should be done (often the result of competing therapeutic pathways), lack of women’s agency, unfamiliarity with and fear of hospitals and the treatments they offer (especially surgery), and economic constraints on access to care.
Women in resource-poor countries will use institutional obstetric care when the services provided are valued more than the competing choices offered by a pluralistic medical system. The key to obstetric fistula prevention is competent obstetrical care delivered respectfully, promptly, and at affordable cost. The utilization of these services is driven largely by trust.
PMCID: PMC3449209  PMID: 22809234
Obstetric fistula prevention; Vesicovaginal fistula; Obstructed labor; Phases of delay; Trust
6.  Obstetric Fistula in Burundi: a comprehensive approach to managing women with this neglected disease 
In Burundi, the annual incidence of obstetric fistula is estimated to be 0.2-0.5% of all deliveries, with 1000–2000 new cases per year. Despite this relatively high incidence, national capacity for identifying and managing obstetric fistula is very limited. Thus, in July 2010, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) set up a specialised Obstetric Fistula Centre in Gitega (Gitega Fistula Centre, GFC), the only permanent referral centre for obstetric fistula in Burundi. A comprehensive model of care is offered including psychosocial support, conservative and surgical management, post-operative care and follow-up. We describe this model of care, patient outcomes and the operational challenges.
Descriptive study using routine programme data.
Between July 2010 and December 2011, 470 women with obstetric fistula presented for the first time at GFC, of whom 458 (98%) received treatment. Early urinary catheterization (conservative management) was successful in four out of 35 (11%) women. Of 454 (99%) women requiring surgical management, 394 (87%) were discharged with a closed fistula, of whom 301 (76%) were continent of urine and/or faeces, while 93 (24%) remained incontinent of urine and/or faeces. In 59 (13%) cases, the fistula was complex and could not be closed. Outcome status was unknown for one woman. Median duration of stay at GFC was 39 days (Interquartile range IQR, 31–51 days).
The main operational challenges included: i) early case finding and recruitment for conservative management, ii) national capacity building in obstetric fistula surgical repair, and iii) assessing the psychosocial impact of this model.
In a rural African setting, it is feasible to implement a comprehensive package of fistula care using a dedicated fistula facility, and satisfactory surgical repair outcomes can be achieved. Several operational challenges are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3765123  PMID: 23965150
Obstetric fistula; Comprehensive management; Operational research; Burundi
7.  Urogenital fistulae: A prospective study of 50 cases at a tertiary care hospital 
Urology Annals  2010;2(2):67-70.
The misfortunate incident of formation of a urogenital fistula remains a major challenge for surgical urologists worldwide. Such fistulae may not be a life-threatening problem, but surely the women face demoralization, social boycott and even divorce and separation. The fistula may be vaginal, recto-vaginal or a combination of the two. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that in the developing nations, nearly 5 million women annually suffer severe morbidity with obstetric fistulae being the foremost on the list. The objective of our study was to enunciate the patient demography, patient profile, incidence, type of surgery, as well as the long-term outcomes encountered in the management of all types of genital fistulae at a tertiary care centre.
Materials and Methods:
50 consecutive patients, attending the outpatient department with urogenital fistulae, were studied during the period of 5 years from July 2005 to July 2009. All female patients with complaints of urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence and dribbling, patients having a history of obstructed labor, radiotherapy, instrumental delivery, foreign body or trauma and with a history of hysterectomy (abdominal/ vaginal) and lower segment caesarean section (LSCS) were included. A thorough urological examination included a dye study using methylene blue, Renal function tests, X-ray KUB and intravenous urography (IVU). Cystoscopy along with examination under anaesthesia (EUA) were done to assess the actual extent of injury. All patients were subjected to appropriate surgical interventions via the same combination of surgeons . Post operatively, prophylactic antibiotics were administered to all patients and patients were managed till discharge and followed thereafter via regular outpatient visits for a period of 3 years.
Age of patients ranged from 21 to 40 years. 64% patients hailed from rural areas, 76% were from the lower socio-economic strata, 40% illiterate and 69% were short Statured. Vesico vaginal fistulae (VVF) was seen in 64% cases of which 50% were due to obstructed labor, 19% cases post LSCS and 31% cases post total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). 68% of urogenital fistulae were between 1 to 3 cms. We obtained a 75% cure rate in UVF, 87.5% cure rate in RVF while a 93.75% cure rate was observed in patients with VVF. 76% of all patients were cured while 8% had a recurrence, probably due to the large size of fistula.
Genital fistula is preventable, yet it remains a significant cause of morbidity among females of reproductive age group. Despite facilities available, certain conditions like physical, social, economic, illiteracy, and a very casual attitude towards maternal health and children birth practices limit utilization of services for women. It is important that the modern health care providers should be aware of these aspects, so that they can recognize services that are appropriate and acceptable to the people. Thus, one must agree that in cases of urogenital fistulae, "prevention is better than cure".
PMCID: PMC2943683  PMID: 20882157
Obstructed labor; urogenital fistulae; vesico vaginal fistula
8.  Quality care in vesico-vaginal obstetric fistula: case series report from the regional hospital of Maroua-Cameroon 
The World Health Organization (WHO) proposes a successful closure rate for first repair of vesico-vaginal obstetric fistula to be at 85% in each facility, with the continence achievement among the closed cases at 90 %. We are reporting the vesico-vaginal obstetric fistula outcome at the provincial hospital of Maroua-Cameroon from 2005 to August 2007. Among the overall 32 patients with vesico-vaginal fistula operated, 25 patients were at their first operation. The complete closure of vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) was 23/25 (92%) and among the 23 patients with complete closure 17(74%) had good continence. When we consider only the 25 patients who were at their first operation, the overall closure of VVF was 23/25 (92%) and among them 17/23 (74%) were continent. Large lesion, bladder neck lesions, vaginal adherence and rigid margin are associated with failure/incontinence. These factors must be taken into consideration when preparing patients for surgery or when assigning them to a surgeon within the surgical team.
PMCID: PMC2984323  PMID: 21120005
Obstetric fistula; closure; continence; Cameroon
9.  Closure of post-laryngectomy pharyngocutaneous fistulae 
Head & Neck Oncology  2011;3:29.
Closure of salvage laryngectomy defects with vascularized tissue remains controversial.
We evaluate outcomes in patients who required repair of a fistula after attempted primary closure of salvage laryngectomy defect and assess risk factors for persistent fistula. Between 2001 and 2010, 20 patients were treated for pharyngocutaneous fistulae after primary closure of a salvage laryngectomy. All patients required free flap repair for definitive fistula management.
Patients presented with fistulae from one to 18 months in duration; median time to closure was seven days. Radial forearm free flap was used in 86% of patients. With free flap alone 50% of patients achieved fistula closure. Additional procedures improved closure rate to 85%. Recipient vessels were used in the neck in 54.5%, compared to internal mammary vessels in 45.5%. Hypothyroidism was identified as a risk factor for persistent fistula (p = 0.01). Chronic steroid use (p = 0.08) did not reach significance as a risk factor for fistula closure. Gastroesophageal reflux disease was newly diagnosed or noted as a comorbidity in 14 patients (70%) in this study. It did not reach statistical significance as a risk factor in refistulization (p = 0.12). Complications included leak, carotid blowout, infection, free flap loss, and late refistulization. Overall flap failure in this study was 4.5%.
Delayed secondary repair of pharygocutaneous fistulas after salvage laryngectomy is associated with a higher complication rate and poor success rates compared to use of vascularized tissue at the time of salvage laryngectomy. Prolonged wound healing in these patients is associated with hypothyroidism.
PMCID: PMC3125278  PMID: 21615952
Laryngectomy; Free flap; Pharyngocutaneous fistula; Head and neck cancer; Wound reconstruction; Hypothyroidism; Salvage
10.  Determinants of Postoperative Outcomes of Female Genital Fistula Repair Surgery 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2012;120(3):524-531.
To determine predictors of fistula repair outcomes 3 months postsurgery.
We conducted a multicountry prospective cohort study between 2007 and 2010. Outcomes, measured 3 months postsurgery, included fistula closure, and residual incontinence in women with a closed fistula. Potential predictors included patient and fistula characteristics, and context of repair. Multivariable generalized estimating equation models were used to generate adjusted risk ratios (ARR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Women who returned for follow-up 3 month postsurgery were included in predictors of closure analyses (n=1,274). Small bladder size (ARR 1.57; 95% CI 1.39–1.79), prior repair (ARR 1.40; 95% CI 1.11–1.76), severe scarring (ARR 1.56; 95% CI 1.20–2.04), partial urethral involvement (ARR 1.36; 95% CI 1.11–1.66), and complete urethral destruction/circumferential defect (ARR 1.72; 95% CI 1.33–2.23) predicted failed fistula closure. Women with a closed fistula at 3 month follow-up were included in predictors of residual incontinence analyses (n=1041). Prior repair (ARR 1.37; 95% CI 1.13–1.65), severe scarring (ARR 1.35; 95% CI 1.10–1.67), partial urethral involvement (ARR 1.78; 95% CI 1.27–2.48), and complete urethral destruction or circumferential defect (ARR 2.06; 95% CI 1.51–2.81) were significantly associated with residual incontinence.
The prognosis for genital fistula closure is related to preoperative bladder size, previous repair, vaginal scarring, and urethral involvement.
PMCID: PMC3437437  PMID: 22914460
11.  Depression among women with obstetric fistula, and pelvic organ prolapse in northwest Ethiopia 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:236.
The prevalence of depression is not well studied among women with pelvic floor disorders. Hence, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of depression and its associated factors among women with pelvic floor disorders.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 306 women with one or more of the advanced pelvic floor disorders who attended at the gynaecologic outpatient clinic of Gondar university referral hospital in the six months data collection period. Women who complained of urinary or faecal incontinence or protruding mass per vagina were assessed and staged accordingly. Eligible women i.e. those with advanced pelvic organ prolapse or obstetric fistula were included consecutively. A structured questionnaire was used to obtain socio-demographic data and medical histories for all consenting women. Interviews were done by a female midwife nurse. Depression measures were obtained using the Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) tool administered by the midwife nurse after intensive training. Data were entered into a computer using Epi Info version 3. 5.3, and then exported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Multiple logistic regressions were fitted and Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated to identify associated factors.
Of the 306 women interviewed, 269 had advanced pelvic organ prolapse (stages 3 and 4), 37 had obstetric fistula. All four women (100%) with both faecal and urinary incontinence, 97.0% those with urinary incontinence due to obstetric fistula and 67.7% of those with advanced pelvic organ prolapse (stages 3 and 4) had symptoms of depression. Depression was significantly associated with age 50 years or older (P < 0.01), marital status (P < 0.05), history of divorce (p < 0.01), self perception of severe problem (P < 0.05), and having stage 3 pelvic organ prolapse (P < 0.01).
Women with advanced pelvic organ prolapse, and obstetric fistula had high prevalence of depressive symptoms. A holistic management approach, including mental health care is recommended for women having such severe forms of pelvic floor disorders.
PMCID: PMC3849390  PMID: 24070342
Depression; Pelvic organ prolapse; Obstetric fistula; Ethiopia
12.  Management of urethrocutaneous fistula after hypospadias surgery – An experience of thirty-five cases 
The commonest complication following hypospadias repair is occurrence of urethrocutaneous fistula. The smaller fistulas (<2 mm) are easier to close with a simple closure whereas larger ones (>2 mm) with good vascular surrounding skin require a local skin flap closure for avoiding overlapping suture lines. For the recurrent/larger fistulas with impaired local surrounding skin - incidence of recurrence is significantly reduced by providing a waterproofing interposition layer.
To study the effect of size, location, number of fistulas and surrounding tissues in selecting the procedure and its outcome. To identify various factors involved in the recurrence and to formulate a management in the cases where recurrence has occurred.
Patients and Methods:
This study of 35 cases of urethrocutaneous fistula repair was done from July 2006 to May 2009 to achieve better results in fistula management following hypospadias surgery.
Statistical analysis used:
X2 test and Fisher's exact test.
The overall success rate for fistula repair at first attempt was 89% with success rates for simple closure, layered closure and closure with waterproofing layer being 77%,89% and 100%, respectively. The second attempt success rate at fistula repair for simple closure and closure with waterproofing layer were 33% and 100%, respectively. At third attempt the two recurrent fistulas were managed by simple closure with a waterproofing interposition layer with no recurrence. All the waterproofing procedures in this study had a success rate of 100%.
The treatment plan for a fistula must be individualized based on variables which has an effect on the outcome of repair and to an extent dictates the type of repair to be performed. The significantly improved success rates with the addition of a waterproofing layer suggests the use of this interposition layer should be done at the earliest available opportunity to prevent a reccurence rather than to reserve it for future options.
PMCID: PMC3111134  PMID: 21713169
Hypospadias; tunicavaginalis; urethrocutaneous fistula; waterproofing layer
13.  Obstetric fistula in Southern Sudan: situational analysis and Key Informant Method to estimate prevalence 
Obstetric fistula is a severe condition which can have devastating consequences for a woman’s life. Despite a considerable literature, very little is known about its prevalence. This project was conducted to carry out a situational analysis of fistula services in South Sudan and to pilot test the Key Informant Method (KIM) to estimate the prevalence of fistula in a region of South Sudan.
Key stakeholder interviews, document reviews and fistula surgery record reviews were undertaken. A KIM survey was conducted in a district of Western Bahr-el-Ghazal in January 2012. One hundred sixty-six community-based distributors, traditional birth attendants and village midwives were trained as key informants to identify women with fistula in the community. Women identified were subsequently examined by an obstetrician and nurse to verify whether they had a fistula.
There were limited fistula repair services in South Sudan. Approximately 50–80 women per year attend periodic campaigns, with around half having a fistula and receiving a repair. On average a further 5 women a year received fistula repair from hospital services. Ten women with potential fistula were identified via KIM; all confirmed by the obstetrician. Of these, three were from the survey area, which had 8,865 women of reproductive age (15–49 years). This gives a minimal estimated prevalence of at least 30 fistulas per 100,000 women of reproductive age (95% CI 10–100).
Routine fistula repair services available do not meet the population’s needs. The pilot study suggests that KIM can be used to identify women with fistula in the community. Data on fistula are generally poor; the KIM methodology we used in South Sudan yielded a lower fistula prevalence than estimates reported previously in the region.
PMCID: PMC3607911  PMID: 23497241
14.  Male involvement in birth preparedness and complication readiness for emergency obstetric referrals in rural Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2011;8:12.
Every pregnant woman faces risk of life-threatening obstetric complications. A birth-preparedness package promotes active preparation and assists in decision-making for healthcare seeking in case of such complications. The aim was to assess factors associated with birth preparedness and complication-readiness as well as the level of male participation in the birth plan among emergency obstetric referrals in rural Uganda.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted at Kabale regional hospital maternity ward among 140 women admitted as emergency obstetric referrals in antenatal, labor or the postpartum period. Data was collected on socio-demographics and birth preparedness and what roles spouses were involved in during developing the birth plan. Any woman who attended antenatal care at least 4 times, received health education on pregnancy and childbirth danger signs, saved money for emergencies, made a plan of where to deliver from and made preparations for a birth companion, was deemed as having made a birth plan. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to analyze factors that were independently associated with having a birth plan.
The mean age was 26.8 ± 6.6 years, while mean age of the spouse was 32.8 ± 8.3 years. Over 100 (73.8%) women and 75 (55.2%) of their spouses had no formal education or only primary level of education respectively. On multivariable analysis, Primigravidae compared to multigravidae, OR 1.8 95%CI (1.0-3.0), education level of spouse of secondary or higher versus primary level or none, OR 3.8 95%CI (1.2-11.0), formal occupation versus informal occupation of spouse, OR 1.6 95%CI (1.1-2.5), presence of pregnancy complications OR 1.4 95%CI (1.1-2.0) and the anticipated mode of delivery of caesarean section versus vaginal delivery, OR 1.6 95%CI (1.0-2.4) were associated with having a birth plan.
Individual women, families and communities need to be empowered to contribute positively to making pregnancy safer by making a birth plan.
PMCID: PMC3118172  PMID: 21548976
15.  Pancreatic Fistula Rates After 462 Distal Pancreatectomies: Staplers Do Not Decrease Fistula Rates 
Pancreatic fistula is a major source of morbidity after distal pancreatectomy (DP). We reviewed 462 consecutive patients undergoing DP to determine if the method of stump closure impacted fistula rates.
A retrospective review of clinicopatologic variables of patients who underwent DP between February 1994 and February 2008 was performed. The International Study Group classification for pancreatic fistula was utilized (Bassi et al., Surgery, 138(1):8–13, 2005).
The overall pancreatic fistula rate was 29% (133/462). DP with splenectomy was performed in 321 (69%) patients. Additional organs were resected in 116 (25%) patients. The pancreatic stump was closed with a fish-mouth suture closure in 227, of whom 67 (30%) developed a fistula. Pancreatic duct ligation did not decrease the fistula rate (29% vs. 30%). A free falciform patch was used in 108 patients, with a fistula rate of 28% (30/108). Stapled compared to stapled with staple line reinforcement had a fistula rate of 24% (10/41) vs. 33% (15/45). There is no significant difference in the rate of fistula formation between the different stump closures (p=0.73). On multivariate analysis, BMI>30 kg/m2, male gender, and an additional procedure were significant predictors of pancreatic fistula.
The pancreatic fistula rate was 29%. Staplers with or without staple line reinforcement do not significantly reduce fistula rates after DP. Reduction of pancreatic fistulas after DP remains an unsolved challenge.
PMCID: PMC3806097  PMID: 18704597
Distal pancreatectomy; Pancreatic fistula
16.  Knowledge of obstetric danger signs and birth preparedness practices among women in rural Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2011;8:33.
Improving knowledge of obstetric danger signs and promoting birth preparedness practices are strategies aimed at enhancing utilization of skilled care in low-income countries. The aim of the study was to explore the association between knowledge of obstetric danger signs and birth preparedness among recently delivered women in south-western Uganda.
The study included 764 recently delivered women from 112 villages in Mbarara district. Community survey methods were used and 764 recently delivered women from 112 villages in Mbarara district were included in study. Interviewer administered questionnaire were used to collect data. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between knowledge of key danger signs and birth preparedness.
Fifty two percent of women knew at least one key danger sign during pregnancy, 72% during delivery and 72% during postpartum. Only 19% had knowledge of 3 or more key danger signs during the three periods. Of the four birth preparedness practices; 91% had saved money, 71% had bought birth materials, 61% identified a health professional and 61% identified means of transport. Overall 35% of the respondents were birth prepared. The relationship between knowledge of at least one key danger sign during pregnancy or during postpartum and birth preparedness showed statistical significance which persisted after adjusting for probable confounders (OR 1.8, 95% CI: 1.2-2.6) and (OR 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2-3.0) respectively. Young age and high levels of education had synergistic effect on the relationship between knowledge and birth preparedness. The associations between knowledge of at least one key danger sign during childbirth or knowledge that prolonged labour was a key danger sign and birth preparedness were not statistically significant.
The prevalence of recently delivered women who had knowledge of key danger signs or those who were birth prepared was very low. Since the majority of women attend antenatal care sessions, the quality and methods of delivery of antenatal care education require review so as to improve its effectiveness. Universal primary and secondary education programmes ought to be promoted so as to enhance the impact of knowledge of key danger signs on birth preparedness practices.
PMCID: PMC3231972  PMID: 22087791
17.  Treatment Strategies in 135 Consecutive Patients with Enterocutaneous Fistulas 
World Journal of Surgery  2008;32(3):445-453.
Enterocutaneous fistulas (ECF) pose a major challenge to every gastrointestinal (GI) surgeon. Based on earlier studies, a standardized treatment guideline was implemented. The focus of the present study was to assess that guideline and determine prognostic factors for outcome of patients with ECF, and to define a more detailed therapeutic approach including the convalescence time before restorative surgery.
All patients with ECF treated between 1990 and 2005 were included. Management consisted of controlling Sepsis, Optimization of nutritional state, Wound care, assessment of fistula Anatomy, Timing of surgery, and Surgical strategy (the SOWATS guideline). Prognostic factors were assessed by way of multiple logistic regression analysis.
A total of 135 patients were treated at our unit. Overall closure was achieved in 118 patients (87.4%). Restorative operations for fistula closure were performed after a median of 53 days (range: 4–270 days). Restorative operations were successful in 97/107 patients (90.7%). Thirteen patients (9.6%) died. An abdominal wall defect was the most predominant negative prognostic factor for spontaneous closure (odds ratio [OR] = 0.195, confidence interval [CI] 0.052–0.726, p = 0.015). A strong relation was found between preoperative albumin level and surgical closure (p < 0.001) and mortality (p < 0.001).
Application of the SOWATS guideline allowed a favorable outcome after a short convalescence period. Abdominal wall defects and preoperative hypoalbuminemia are important prognostic variables.
PMCID: PMC2248608  PMID: 18175171
18.  Is the Simple Closure Technique Effective in the Treatment of Genital Fistulas? 
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology  2013;2013:672540.
Aim. Genitourinary fistulas are bothersome clinical entities not only for the patient but also for the treating surgeon as well. A lot of surgical procedures have been proposed; however, most of the fistulas can be easily treated with plain surgical techniques, such as the simple surgical closure of the fistula tract. Material and Method. The study was carried out in the urogynecology department of Ankara Etlik Zübeyde Hanım Maternity Training and Research Hospital. The study included 12 cases with vesicovaginal fistulas and 15 cases with rectovaginal fistulas. Twenty-six patients underwent simple surgical closure technique. The age, the referral time to the hospital, the longest diameter of the fistula opening, the hospitalization time, the follow-up period and identifiable risk factors of the patients were evaluated. Results. Caeserean section was detected as primary risk factor for vesicovaginal fistulas and prolonged labor was detected as the most important risk factor for rectovaginal fistulas. In our study, we found that the simple closure technique cured 91% of vesicovaginal fistulas and 93% of rectovaginal fistulas. Conclusion. The simple closure technique has very high cure rates for both vesicovaginal and rectovaginal fistulas when the longest diameter of the fistula openings is ≤5 mm.
PMCID: PMC3586520  PMID: 23476795
19.  Factors associated with obstetric fistulae occurrence among patients attending selected hospitals in Kenya, 2010: a case control study 
In Kenya, about 3000 fistula cases are estimated to occur every year with an incidence of 1/1000 women. This study sought to identify risk factors associated with developing obstetrics fistula in order to guide implementation of appropriate interventions.
An unmatched case control study was conducted in three major hospitals in Kenya between October and December 2010. Cases were patients who had fistula following delivery within the previous five years. Controls were systematically selected from women who attended obstetrics and gynecology clinics at these hospitals, and did not have present or past history of fistula. Odds ratio was used as measure of association with their corresponding 95% confidence interval. Factors with p value of <0.1 were included into forward additive logistic regression model to generate adjusted odds ratios.
Seventy cases and 140 controls were included in the study. Independent risk factors associated with obstetrics fistula included duration of labour of >24 hours (OR = 4.7, 95% CI = 2.4 -9.2), seeking delivery services after 6 hours of labour onset (OR = 6.9, 95% CI = 2.2-21.3), taking more than 2 hours to reach a health facility (OR = 5.7, 95% CI = 2.9 -11.5), having none or primary education (OR = 9.6, 95% CI = 3.3 –27.9) and being referred to another facility for emergency obstetrics services (OR = 8.6, 95% CI = 2.7 –27).
Risk factors for developing obstetrics fistula were delays in care seeking including delay in making decision to seek delivery servers after six hours of labour onset, taking more than two hours to reach a health facility, labour duration of more than 24 hours and having no formal or primary education. Efforts geared at strengthening all levels of the health system to reduce delays in access to emergency obstetric care are needed.
PMCID: PMC3599423  PMID: 23448615
Obstetric fistula; Vesico vaginal fistula; Fistula
20.  Factors influencing choice of surgical route of repair of genitourinary fistula, and the influence of route of repair on surgical outcomes: findings from a prospective cohort study 
Bjog  2012;119(11):1344-1353.
The abdominal route of genitourinary fistula repair may be associated with longer term hospitalisation, hospital-associated infection and increased resource requirements. We examined: (1) the factors influencing the route of repair; (2) the influence of the route of repair on fistula closure 3 months following surgery; and (3) whether the influence of the route of repair on repair outcome varied by whether or not women met the published indications for abdominal repair.
Prospective cohort study.
Eleven health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
The 1274 women with genitourinary fistula presenting for surgical repair services.
Risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were generated using log-binomial and Poisson (log-link) regression. Multivariable regression and propensity score matching were employed to adjust for confounding.
Main outcome measures
Abdominal route of repair and fistula closure at 3 months following fistula repair surgery.
Published indications for abdominal route of repair (extensive scarring or tissue loss, genital infibulation, ureteric involvement, trigonal, supratrigonal, vesico-uterine or intracervical location or other abdominal pathology) predicted the abdominal route [adjusted risk ratio (ARR), 15.56; 95% CI, 2.12–114.00]. A vaginal route of repair was associated with increased risk of failed closure (ARR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.05–1.88); stratified analyses suggested elevated risk among women meeting indications for the abdominal route.
Additional studies powered to test effect modification hypotheses are warranted to confirm whether the abdominal route of repair is beneficial for certain women.
PMCID: PMC3470701  PMID: 22900837
Developing countries; genitourinary fistula; observational study; propensity score; route of repair; surgery
21.  Waiting for attention and care: birthing accounts of women in rural Tanzania who developed obstetric fistula as an outcome of labour 
Obstetric fistula is a physically and socially disabling obstetric complication that affects about 3,000 women in Tanzania every year. The fistula, an opening that forms between the vagina and the bladder and/or the rectum, is most frequently caused by unattended prolonged labour, often associated with delays in seeking and receiving appropriate and adequate birth care. Using the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of care (AAAQ) concept and the three delays model, this article provides empirical knowledge on birth care experiences of women who developed fistula after prolonged labour.
We used a mixed methods approach to explore the birthing experiences of women affected by fistula and the barriers to access adequate care during labour and delivery. Sixteen women were interviewed for the qualitative study and 151 women were included in the quantitative survey. All women were interviewed at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Tanzania in Dar es Salaam and Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza.
Women experienced delays both before and after arriving at a health facility. Decisions on where to seek care were most often taken by husbands and mothers-in-law (60%). Access to health facilities providing emergency obstetric care was inadequate and transport was a major obstacle. About 20% reported that they had walked or were carried to the health facility. More than 50% had reported to a health facility after two or more days of labour at home. After arrival at a health facility women experienced lack of supportive care, neglect, poor assessment of labour and lack of supervision. Their birth accounts suggest unskilled birth care and poor referral routines.
This study reveals major gaps in access to and provision of emergency obstetric care. It illustrates how poor quality of care at health facilities contributes to delays that lead to severe birth injuries, highlighting the need to ensure women's rights to accessible, acceptable and adequate quality services during labour and delivery.
PMCID: PMC3221614  PMID: 22013991
22.  Randomized controlled trial of minimally invasive surgery using acellular dermal matrix for complex anorectal fistula 
AIM: To compare the efficacy and safety of acellular dermal matrix (ADM) bioprosthetic material and endorectal advancement flap (ERAF) in treatment of complex anorectal fistula.
METHODS: Ninety consecutive patients with complex anorectal fistulae admitted to Anorectal Surgical Department of First Affiliated Hospital, Xinjiang Medical University from March 2008 to July 2009, were enrolled in this study. Complex anorectal fistula was diagnosed following its clinical, radiographic, or endoscopic diagnostic criteria. Under spinal anesthesia, patients underwent identification and irrigation of the fistula tracts using hydrogen peroxide. ADM was securely sutured at the secondary opening to the primary opening using absorbable suture. Outcomes of ADM and ERAF closure were compared in terms of success rate, fecal incontinence rate, anorectal deformity rate, postoperative pain time, closure time and life quality score. Success was defined as closure of all external openings, absence of drainage without further intervention, and absence of abscess formation. Follow-up examination was performed 2 d, 2, 4, 6, 12 wk, and 5 mo after surgery, respectively.
RESULTS: No patient was lost to follow-up. The overall success rate was 82.22% (37/45) 5.7 mo after surgery. ADM dislodgement occured in 5 patients (11.11%), abscess formation was found in 1 patient, and fistula recurred in 2 patients. Of the 13 patients with recurrent fistula using ERAF, 5 (11.11%) received surgical drainage because of abscess formation. The success rate, postoperative pain time and closure time of ADM were significantly higher than those of ERAF (P < 0.05). However, no difference was observed in fecal incontinence rate and anorectal deformity rate after treatment with ADM and ERAF.
CONCLUSION: Closure of fistula tract opening with ADM is an effective procedure for complex anorectal fistula. ADM should be considered a first line treatment for patients with complex anorectal fistula.
PMCID: PMC2900719  PMID: 20614483
Acellular dermal matrix; Surgery; Transsphincteric complex fistula
23.  Management of gastro-bronchial fistula complicating a subtotal esophagectomy: a case report 
BMC Surgery  2009;9:20.
The development of a fistula between the tracheobronchial tree and the gastric conduit post esophagectomy is a rare and often fatal complication.
Case presentation
A 68 year old man underwent radical esophagectomy for esophageal adenocarcinoma. On postoperative day 14 the nasogastric drainage bag dramatically filled with air, without deterioration in respiratory function or progressive sepsis. A fiberoptic bronchoscopy was performed which demonstrated a gastro-bronchial fistula in the posterior aspect of the left main bronchus. He was managed conservatively with antibiotics, enteral nutrition via jejunostomy, and non-invasive respiratory support. A follow- up bronchoscopy 60 days after the diagnostic bronchoscopy, confirmed spontaneous closure of the fistula
This is the first such case where a conservative approach with no surgery or endoprosthesis resulted in a successful outcome, with fistula closure confirmed at subsequent bronchoscopy. Our experience would suggest that in very carefully selected cases where bronchopulmonary contamination from the fistula is minimal or absent, there is no associated inflammation of the tracheobronchial tree and the patient is stable from a respiratory point of view without evidence of sepsis, there may be a role for a trial of conservative management.
PMCID: PMC2803445  PMID: 20030856
24.  "I am nothing": experiences of loss among women suffering from severe birth injuries in Tanzania 
BMC Women's Health  2011;11:49.
Despite the increased attention on maternal mortality during recent decades, which has resulted in maternal health being defined as a Millennium Development Goal (MDG), the disability and suffering from obstetric fistula remains a neglected issue in global health. Continuous leaking of urine and the physical, emotional and social suffering associated with it, has a profound impact on women's quality of life. This study seeks to explore the physical, cultural and psychological dimensions of living with obstetric fistula, and demonstrate how these experiences shape the identities of women affected by the condition.
A cross-sectional study with qualitative and quantitative components was used to explore the experiences of Tanzanian women living with obstetric fistula and those of their husbands. The study was conducted at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Tanzania hospital in Dar es Salaam, Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, and Mpwapwa district, in Dodoma region. Conveniently selected samples of 16 women were interviewed, and 151 additional women responded to a questionnaire. In addition, 12 women affected by obstetric fistula and six husbands of these affected women participated in a focus group discussions. Data were analysed using content data analysis framework and statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 15 for Microsoft windows.
The study revealed a deep sense of loss. Loss of body control, loss of the social roles as women and wives, loss of integration in social life, and loss of dignity and self-worth were located at the core of these experiences.
The women living with obstetric fistula experience a deep sense of loss that had negative impact on their identity and quality of life. Acknowledging affected women's real-life experiences is important in order to understand the occurrence and management of obstetric fistula, as well as prospects after treatment. This knowledge will help to improve women's sense of self-worth and maintain their identity as women, wives, friends and community members. Educational programmes to empower women socially and economically and counselling of families of women living with obstetric fistula may help these women receive medical and social support that is necessary.
PMCID: PMC3228718  PMID: 22082132
25.  Influence of Birth Preparedness, Decision-Making on Location of Birth and Assistance by Skilled Birth Attendants among Women in South-Western Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35747.
Assistance by skilled birth attendants (SBAs) during childbirth is one of the strategies aimed at reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in low-income countries. However, the relationship between birth preparedness and decision-making on location of birth and assistance by skilled birth attendants in this context is not well studied. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of birth preparedness practices and decision-making and assistance by SBAs among women in south-western Uganda.
Community survey methods were used to identify 759 recently delivered women from 120 villages in rural Mbarara district. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to collect data. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between birth preparedness, decision-making on location of birth and assistance by SBAs.
35% of the women had been prepared for childbirth and the prevalence of assistance by SBAs in the sample was 68%. The final decision regarding location of birth was made by the woman herself (36%), the woman with spouse (56%) and the woman with relative/friend (8%). The relationships between birth preparedness and women decision-making on location of birth in consultation with spouse/friends/relatives and choosing assistance by SBAs showed statistical significance which persisted after adjusting for possible confounders (OR 1.5, 95% CI: 1.0–2.4) and (OR 4.4, 95% CI: 3.0–6.7) respectively. Education, household assets and birth preparedness showed clear synergistic effect on the relationship between decision-maker on location of birth and assistance by SBAs. Other factors which showed statistical significant relationships with assistance by SBAs were ANC attendance, parity and residence.
Women’s decision-making on location of birth in consultation with spouse/friends/relatives and birth preparedness showed significant effect on choosing assistance by SBAs at birth. Education and household assets ownership showed a synergistic effect on the relationship between the decision-maker and assistance by SBAs.
PMCID: PMC3338788  PMID: 22558214

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