International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 91–98

Childbirth experiences of women with obstetric fistula in Tanzania and Uganda and their implications for fistula program development

  • Maggie Bangser
  • Manisha Mehta
  • Janet Singer
  • Chris Daly
  • Catherine Kamugumya
  • Atuswege Mwangomale
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00192-010-1236-8

Cite this article as:
Bangser, M., Mehta, M., Singer, J. et al. Int Urogynecol J (2011) 22: 91. doi:10.1007/s00192-010-1236-8


Introduction and hypothesis

Authors sought evidence from the testimonies of women living with fistula regarding local risk factors for fistula and the impact of fistula on women's lives.


One hundred thirty-seven women recruited from health facilities and at the community level in Tanzania and Uganda were interviewed using quantitative and qualitative methods, including participatory approaches.


Women of all ages and parities endured fistula. The testimonies illustrated that physical, socio-economic and cultural constraints, as well as health system failures, led to fistula, and the condition imposed harsh consequences on women's lives. Constraints included deficient maternal health services and personnel, delays in seeking and accessing care, and limited fistula repair services. Women endured severe social stigma and severe economic hardships.


Participants' testimonies expand current understanding of women's experience of fistula and point to recommendations that could improve maternal health care, reduce women's risk of fistula, and improve the lives of women living with the condition.


Maternal morbidityObstetric fistulaTanzaniaUganda

Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maggie Bangser
    • 1
  • Manisha Mehta
    • 2
  • Janet Singer
    • 3
  • Chris Daly
    • 4
  • Catherine Kamugumya
    • 5
  • Atuswege Mwangomale
    • 6
  1. 1.(Formerly) Women’s DignityDar es SalaamTanzania
  2. 2.Wellspring Advisors (formerly EngenderHealth)New YorkUSA
  3. 3.Warren Alpert School of MedicineBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.QueenslandAustralia
  5. 5.Women’s DignityDar es SalaamTanzania
  6. 6.Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation (formerly Women’s Dignity)Dar es SalaamTanzania