Identifying barriers to accessing information and treatment for obstetric fistula in Niamey, Niger
Objective: To identify barriers to accessing information and treatment regarding obstetric fistula (OF) unique to Niger encountered by women referred to the National Referral Fistula Center.
Method: A questionnaire was administered at the National Referral Fistula Center to 29 women with OF. Qualitative and quantitative statistics were computed.
Results: The average individual was 30.4 years old, illiterate and from a rural area. 76.0% had antenatal care, the average labor time was 3.04 days, and 88.0% had a physician-assisted delivery. Barriers to information included rural dwelling, lack of education, lack of understanding of cause despite contact with health care workers, lack of knowledgeable resources to seek advice from or lack of ability/interest, not given specific information about availability of treatment, and not utilizing available resources to disseminate information. Barriers to treatment included lack of information regarding condition and treatment, traditional healer utilization, inability to access adequate care for condition, delay for childbirth recovery, permission needed to seek treatment, cost, timely treatment unavailable, and lack of social support.
Conclusion: Improving efficiency of getting women to the hospital at time of delivery, prompt referrals for OF, and using cell phones for disseminating information or accessing transport may benefit women with OF in Niger.