Obstetric Fistula “Disease” and Ensuing Care: Patients’ Views in West-Africa
We explored obstetric fistula patients’ real-life experience of care in modern Health System. Our aim was to analyze how these women’s views impacted their care uptake and coping. We conducted 67 in-depth interviews with 35 fistula patients or former patients in 5 fistula repair centers within referral hospitals in Mali and Niger. Perceptions of obstetric fistula influenced the care experience and vice versa. Obstetric fistula was viewed as a severe chronic disease due to length of care process, limitation of surgery and persisting physical and moral suffering. We highlight the opportunity to build on patients’ views on obstetric fistula trauma and care in order to implement an effective holistic care process.
Keywords: Vesico-vaginal fistula, long-term care, social perception, chronic disease, qualitative research, West Africa.
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