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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5016.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - Board 5

Abstract #108764

Generating evidence on the effectiveness of community mobilization for prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula in Eritrea

Janet M. Turan, PhD, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, UCSF, 103 Hoskins Court, Apt. 102, Stanford, CA 94305, (650) 497-9229, jmturan@gmail.com, Khalia Johnson, School of Medicine, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, Mary Lake Polan, MD, PhD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, Azenegash Ghebreselasie, Health Promotion Unit, Eritrean Ministry of Health, P.O. Box 212, Asmara, Eritrea, Elisabeth Mengsteab, Eritrea Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Warsai Avenue, P. O. Box 5366, Asmara, Eritrea, and Selome Tewoderos, Stanford University, Building 1 - Main Quad, Stanford, CA 94305.

Obstetric fistula is a serious childbirth injury that affects millions of women in developing countries. Although it is essential to upgrade emergency obstetric facilities and train skilled birth attendants, these are not enough to prevent this problem. Communities need information about safe motherhood so that they can work together to overcome barriers to accessing obstetric care. Communities also have a role to play in assuring that women who do develop fistulas receive appropriate treatment and are reintegrated into the community after surgery. This study was designed to test a community mobilization strategy for prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula in Eritrea. A quasi-experimental design is being used to evaluate the impact of an intervention, in which trained community volunteers organize participatory meetings on safe motherhood. Study outcomes will be measured in intervention and control communities at baseline and one year later. As a first step, interviews were conducted with fistula repair clients and family members at Massawa Hospital. Information was collected about the pregnancy and birth, effects of the fistula on women's lives, and seeking medical help for fistula repair. The interviews revealed that family members are key actors in decision-making around a birth and that communities are motivated to work together to ensure safe motherhood. There is need to improve information, counseling, and follow-up services for women who undergo fistula repair. This presentation will include results of these formative interviews, a description of how the findings were used to develop the intervention, and results from the baseline data collection.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Maternal Morbidity, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Innovations in Community Health

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA