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Research Article Open Access
Obstetric fistula which is an opening in the wall of the vagina connecting to the bladder or rectum due to prolong obstructed labour is a very devastating form of maternal morbidity and it is widely prevalent in most developing countries including Ghana. Women with the condition are usually subjected to social humiliation, shame and embarrassment yet awareness and knowledge about obstetric fistula is still low in rural Ghana. The objective of the present study was to assess the awareness about risk factors of obstetric fistulae and treatment seeking behaviour in rural communities in northern Ghana. This cross-sectional study was carried out in 13 selected districts from the three regions of Northern Ghana. A standard questionnaire was administered to 3224 people resident in 25 communities within the selected districts to assess the awareness and knowledge of the people about obstetric fistula. The response rate was 82.1% after 576 were excluded for various reasons. Of the remaining 2648 respondent, 466 were males and 1982 were females representing 19.0% and 81.0% respectively. The mean age of respondents was 31.7 ± 2.1 (range; 17-60 years). The general awareness level of obstetric fistula among the study population was 45.0% (1096/2438). The level of awareness was high among female (45.8%) compare to male respondent which was 40.8%. Awareness level was highest among the 21-30 years age bracket and was significantly high among those respondents with at least high school level education. The study also showed that the preferred place to seek treatment vary depending on the educational level of the respondents with majority of respondents who had no or very little education preferring to seek treatment from traditional birth attendants and spiritual healers. The awareness level of obstetric fistula among the study population is low which can be attributed to low literacy and the lack of awareness programme in the study area. It is therefore imperative to place more emphasis on neglected health conditions such as obstetric fistula.
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Author(s): Saeed M F Alhassan A OpareAsamoah K and Kuubiere C
Obstetric fistula, Northern Ghana, Awareness, Obstetric fistula, Northern Ghana, Awareness