Obstetric vesico-vaginal fistulae seen in the Northern Democratic Republic of Congo: a descriptive study

  • Justin L Paluku
  • Tamar E Carter
Keywords: Obstetric vesico-vaginal fistulae, Northern Democratic Republic of Congo


Background: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a developing country with poor obstetric indicators. Despite ongoing efforts to improve care, women continue to suffer multiple complications of child birth including vesico-vaginal fistulae (VVF).
Objective: To describe socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of VVF patients in Northern DRC.
Methods: Women presenting at two VVF mobile surgical campaign missions in the province of Equateur in Northern DRC in August 2012 and October 2013 were examined and treated for VVF. We collected socio-demographic data, including marital status, education, and accompaniment by husbands for treatment, as a proxy for marital support, and clinical data related to characteristics of VVF in patients, duration of illness, and the outcome of treatment surgery.
Results: Out of 163 VVF patients, 100 (61.3%) were less than 35 years old, 102 had no formal education ( 62.6%), and 100 were married ( 61.3%). The mean duration of illness before surgery was 8.4 years. Successful surgery rate for VVF was 87.1% (142/163). A majority of patients who were married, were accompanied to the hospital by their husbands for treatment (56/100; 56.00%). Association analysis revealed age was the only variable that maintained significant association with duration of illness after multivariate analysis (p-value <0.0001). Marital status was the only variable associated with surgical outcome (0.334, 95% CI 0.125- 0.847, p-value = 0.021).
Conclusion: We found that most VVF patients were young adults, not educated, and married. Marital status and age may have important roles in outcome of VVF surgery and duration of illness, respectively.

Keywords: Obstetric vesico-vaginal fistulae, Northern Democratic Republic of Congo


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905