Perceived Health System Causes of Obstetric Fistula from Accounts of Affected Women in Rural Tanzania: A Qualitative Study

Lilian T. Mselle, Thecla W. Kohi


Obstetric fistula is still a major problem in low income countries. While its main cause is untreated obstructed labour, misconceptions about it still persist. This study aimed at exploring and describing perceived health system causes of obstetric fistula from women affected by it in rural Tanzania. This exploratory qualitative study included twenty-eight women affected by obstetric fistula.  Semi structured interviews and focus group discussions were held and thematic analysis used to analyse perceived health system causes of obstetric fistula from women’s account. Perceived health system causes of obstetric fistula fundamentally reflected the poor quality of obstetric care women received at health care facilities relating to staff unaccountability, late referral, and torture by nurses. The women's perception emphasizes the importance of improving the quality of obstetric care provided by health care providers in health care facilities. (Afr J Reprod Health 2015; 19[1]: 124132).

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