The changing perception and knowledge of obstetric fistula: a qualitative study

Chi Chiung Grace Chen, Jie Jiao, Gerard Mbabazi, Annelise Long, Rachel Galvao, Denis Rwabizi, Blaise Dushimiyimana, Eugene Ngoga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction and hypothesis: To describe the knowledge and perceptions of obstetric fistula (OF) among affected and unaffected women. Methods: Twenty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted with women who had received OF repair. Three focus groups were conducted: one group of women with urinary incontinence but no OF, one group of women with OF, and one group of women without genitourinary complaints. Interviews and focus groups were conducted using the grounded theory approach. This study took place in two urban hospitals in Rwanda from April to November 2015. Transcripts were coded using MAXDA11 and analyzed using the axial technique and the constant comparative method. Results: Nearly all participants correctly described OF and its symptoms, and 93% of interviewed women attributed OF to complications in vaginal delivery or cesarean section. Several participants described renouncing stigmatizing beliefs after learning about OF from the radio, health workers, or word of mouth. Still, it was found that women with OF were more knowledgeable about OF etiology than women without genitourinary conditions. Conclusions: Compared to prior studies, women’s knowledge about OF appears to be more medically based, with media and health workers playing a role in reducing stigmatizing beliefs. These findings support continued investment in OF awareness campaigns, which seem to be increasing knowledge about OF and reducing stigma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2419-2425
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Knowledge
  • Obstetric fistula
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'The changing perception and knowledge of obstetric fistula: a qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this