Healthcare providers' perspectives on the social reintegration of patients after surgical fistula repair in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Nichole Young-Lin, Esperance N. Namugunga, Justin P. Lussy, Nerys Benfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To understand perspectives of local health providers on the social reintegration of patients who have undergone fistula repair in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Methods: In a qualitative study, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with patient-care professionals working with women with fistula at HEAL Africa Hospital (Goma) and Panzi Hospital (Bukavu) between June and August 2011. The interviews were transcribed and themes elicited through manual coding. Results: Overall, 41 interviews were conducted. Successful surgical repair was reported to be the most important factor contributing to patients' ability to lead a normal life by all providers. Family acceptance - especially from the husband - was deemed crucial for reintegration by 39 (95%) providers, and 29 (71%) believed this acceptance was more important than the ability to work. Forty (98%) providers felt that, on the basis of African values, future childbearing was key for family acceptance. Because of poor access and the high cost of cesarean deliveries, 28 (68%) providers were concerned aboutfistula recurrence. Conclusion: Providers view postsurgical childbearing ascrucial for social reintegration after fistula repair. However, cesarean deliveries are costly and often inaccessible. More work is needed to improve reproductive health access for women after fistula repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-164
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Obstetric fistula
  • Provider perspectives
  • Social reintegration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this