Restoring dignity: Social reintegration after obstetric fistula repair in Ukerewe, Tanzania

Rachel Pope, Maggie Bangser, Jennifer Harris Requejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores barriers and facilitating factors women experience re-integrating into society after treatment of an obstetric fistula in rural Tanzania. A total of 71 women were interviewed in the Mwanza region of Tanzania, including a community control group. The majority of the women who received successful surgical repairs reported that, over time, they were able to resume many of the social and economic activities they engaged in prior to the development of a fistula. Familial support facilitated both accessing repair and recovery. For 60% of the women recovering from an obstetric fistula, work was the most important factor in helping them feel 'normal again'. However, physical limitations and other residual problems often hampered their ability to continue working. All of the treated women expressed interest in follow-up discussions with health care providers regarding their health and concerns about future pregnancies. Special attention is needed for women who are not completely healed and/or for those who experience other related medical or emotional problems after repair, especially if they lack a social network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-873
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Public Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • obstetric fistula
  • perceived quality of life (PQoL)
  • social reintegration
  • Tanzania
  • vesico-vaginal fistula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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