A descriptive study of obstetric fistula patients
at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital Addis Ababa
When the Millennium Development Goals were first established in 1990, Ethiopia set a target of reducing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015. This target was not achieved by the target date and the Ethiopian government created a new Health Transformation Plan (HSTP) to address specific objectives that impact maternal mortality. Within these objectives, one that is given priority is a 1% reduction in the prevalence of obstetric fistula by the end of 2020. As a preventable condition, addressing fistula prevalence allows for the reduction in this condition as well as improvements in maternal health outcomes. While the Hamlin Fistula Organization is the main center of treatment and care for obstetric fistula in Ethiopia, to achieve the goal set by the HSTP of fistula reduction, preventative measures must be employed. Since obstetric fistula is seen as an issue of poverty, the social environment has a significant impact on obstetric fistula development and can potentially provide insight into elimination efforts. This study examines the relationship between the social environment and how it impacts when care is sought among patients at the Addis Ababa Hamlin Fistula Hospital. The data set was constructed through patient surveys collecting socio-demographic information. The most important finding was that age was the most predictive variable for length of incontinence but other factors explained by the social environment such as marital status, residence, and education level provide insight into why women delayed when they sought care. Therefore, understanding the distribution of current fistula patients based on these socio-demographic variables provides insight into the burden of obstetric fistula and suggests potential, evidence-based, intervention strategies for fistula elimination.