Analysis of a pilot program to implement physical therapy for women with gynecologic fistula in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Laura Keyser, Jessica McKinney, Chris Salmon, Cathy Furaha, Rogatien Kinsindja, Nerys Benfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To describe components of a physical therapy pilot program for women with gynecologic fistula, and to report prospective data from the first 2 years of program implementation.

Methods: A single-cohort observational study with repeated measures was conducted at HEAL Africa Hospital, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Hospital staff received training in pelvic floor physical therapy. Guidelines for exercise, functional training, and reproductive health education were integrated into the existing program. Demographics, clinical findings, and functional outcomes were recorded. Key stakeholders were interviewed to understand the perceived strengths and limitations of the program.

Results: A total of 205 womenwere followed up; 161 participated in physical therapy, with an average of 9.45 sessions. Of 161 women examined postoperatively, 102 (63.4%) reported no incontinence; they remained continent at discharge. Of 21 who indicated a change in level of incontinence during postoperative physical therapy, 15 (71.4%) improved. The program was feasible and well received by staff and patients.

Conclusion: Pelvic floor physical therapy could have significant results in women with gynecologic fistula, may be an important adjunctive treatment in comprehensive fistula care, and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Volume127
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Community-based rehabilitation
  • Global health
  • Gynecologic fistula
  • Maternal morbidity
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Medicine(all)

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