Awareness of obstetric fistula and its associated factors among women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan Africa

Budu, Eugene, Ahinkorah, Bright Opoku, Okyere, Joshua, Seidu, Abdul-Aziz, Aboagye, Richard Gyan, and Yaya, Sanni (2022) Awareness of obstetric fistula and its associated factors among women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan Africa. Tropical Medicine and Health, 50 (1).

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Background Awareness about obstetric fistula and its concomitant factors is central to efforts to eliminate obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa. We, therefore, assessed the magnitude of obstetric fistula awareness and its associated factors among women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods Data for the study were extracted from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys of 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We included 185,388 women aged 15-49 years in this study. Percentages were used to summarise the prevalence of obstetric fistula awareness across the 14 countries studied. We adopted a multivariable multilevel binary logistic regression to examine the factors associated with obstetric fistula awareness in sub-Saharan Africa. We presented the results of the regression analysis using adjusted odds ratios with their 95% confidence intervals. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results The average prevalence of obstetric fistula awareness was 37.9%, ranging from 12.8% in Gambia to 63.9% in Uganda. Awareness of obstetric fistula was low among never married and cohabiting women compared to married women. Compared with women with parity 4 or more, those with no birth had the lowest odds of obstetric fistula awareness. The study also showed that obstetric fistula awareness was lower among women who were working, those who are not exposed to mass media, those in the poorest wealth category, those who have never had sex, and those in communities with low literacy level. The study however found that the odds of obstetric fistula awareness increased with age and education, and was higher in urban areas compared to rural areas. Women, who had ever terminated a pregnancy were more likely to be aware of obstetric fistula compared to those who had never terminated a pregnancy. Conclusion The study demonstrated a low awareness of obstetric fistula among women in sub-Saharan Africa. Educative and sensitisation interventions should incorporate the factors identified in the present study during its implementation. To raise women's awareness of obstetric fistula, there is the need for sub-Saharan African countries to consciously raise community literacy rate, increase access to mass media platforms and invest intensively in formal education for women.

Item ID: 75881
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1349-4147
Keywords: Obstetric, Fistula, Global health, Sub-Saharan Africa, Demographic and Health Survey
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 09:00
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 70%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3215 Reproductive medicine > 321502 Obstetrics and gynaecology @ 30%
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