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Women with obstetric fistula in Ethiopia: a 6-month follow up after surgical treatment.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify surgical and quality of life outcomes 6 months after obstetric fistula repair.

DESIGN: A prospective study. Women were examined and questioned at discharge and at follow-up appointment.

SETTING: The Barhirdar Hamlin Fistula Centre, a dedicated unit treating women with obstetric fistula in northern Ethiopia.

POPULATION: All women admitted to the Barhirdar Hamlin Fistula Centre suffering from vesicovaginal (WF) and rectovaginal fistulae (RVF).

METHODS: All women were asked to return for a follow-up appointment 6 months after surgical treatment. A standardised questionnaire and examination were used and information entered into a database.

MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES: Urinary and anal continence status; extent of return to previous family situation, employment, social activities and reproductive capabilities.

RESULTS: Continence status at discharge was largely maintained at 6 months and quality of life was improved. Many of those incontinent on discharge improved; a small number apparently cured at discharge had later recurrence of incontinence.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical treatment for obstetric fistula is successful in maintaining continence and improving quality of life of women at 6-months follow up.

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