Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Background: Obstetric fistula is among the serious and distressing maternal morbidities in Tanzania. Obstetric fistula is a childbirth-related injury caused by prolonged and obstructed labor which has a devastating impact on affected women and their families. The aim of this study was to explore reasons why women with obstetric fistula admitted to the Comprehensive Community- Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) hospital delayed seeking fistula treatment.

Methods: This exploratory study incorporated qualitative approach. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from 18 women with obstetric fistula admitted to CCBRT hospital. The interviews were conducted in Kiswahili and lasted for 40–45 min. Audio-recordings of the interviews were transcribed verbatim and translated into English. Thematic analysis was used to extract reasons for the delay in seeking treatment for obstetric fistula.

Results: The study sample (n = 18) ranged in age from 20 to 57 (μ = 37; SD = 11.67), married (n = 14), unemployed (n = 15), and very low level education (n = 15) with primary education. Delay in seeking treatment for obstetric fistula was related to the following themes: inadequate knowledge about the causes and treatment of obstetric fistula, distance and transport cost to a health facility, stigma, community isolation, social isolation and use of traditional and cultural.

Conclusion: The Tanzanian Ministry of Health in collaboration with private institutions should strengthen education programmes on the nature and causes of obstetric fistula, and increase the availability of treatment to decrease the effect of this condition for women in Tanzania.


BMC Women's Health

Included in

Nursing Commons