Objectives: To evaluate the incidence of and demographic characteristics associated with obstetric fistula in Eritrea. To determine the outcomes of surgical repair of complex fistula in Eritrea by a visiting surgical team. Methods: A surgical team comprising expert gynecologic surgeons traveled to Eritrea in September 2004. We evaluated 50 patients with genitourinary fistula and performed surgical repairs of these fistulas on 37 women via both vaginal and abdominal approaches. Demographic and basic medical data were obtained at the time of evaluation, and follow-up questionnaires were completed at 4 weeks postoperative. Results: The majority of the women had fistulas related to obstructed labor at their first pregnancy unattended by any healthcare professional. The average duration of labor was 3 days, and more than half had resulted in stillbirths. The rate of successful repair in women with primary vesicovaginal fistulas (VVF) was 63%, and that in women with recurrent vesicovaginal fistulas was 61%. Two women required urinary diversion procedures because of the severity of the damage to the genital tract. Urethral reconstruction in women with urethrovaginal fistulas (UVFs) was successfully accomplished in 77% of patients. The rate of successful repair of rectovaginal fistulas (RVFs) was 87%. Conclusions: We have demonstrated that a team of specialized surgeons can successfully accomplish surgical procedures and repairs of very complex urinary tract fistulas in a very short mission to a resource-poor nation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas