Introduction: Preventing and managing obstetric fistula contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal three (3) of improving maternal health. Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems with underlying stress, depression, social isolation and deepening poverty. Most women will not seek treatment but rather isolate themselves leading to complications. Also, and quite disturbing, most women do not know that the anomaly can be corrected. According to WHO (2005), an estimate of 50,000 to 100,000 women are found to be developing obstetric fistulae each year. In developing countries, in particular, more than two million women living with obstetrical fistulae are under the age of 30. In poor countries, the youngest patients are 12-13 years, between 50 to 80% of women are younger than 20 years in developing countries. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to equip women so as to prevent early marriage, adolescent pregnancies, endorse the importance of educating a girl child and the importance of hospital delivery and antenatal care services.
Methodology: Walker & Avant’s (2011), eight (8) step classic procedure for concept analysis was adopted in analyzing the concept of obstetric fistula stress. Literature search was done in 3 weeks and out of the 30 reviewed only 12 articles were selected for analysis. Google scholar search engine was used to assess journals and papers.
Results: Literature focused on defining the attributes of obstetric fistula, which are early marriages, teenage pregnancies, late antenatal booking and home deliveries. Obstetric fistula was defined as a hole that develops between the birth canal and bladder and/or rectum, it is caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment. It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems with underlying stress, depression, social isolation and deepening poverty.
Conclusion: Obstetric fistulae affect the woman as she becomes emotionally, physically and psychologically stressed. She becomes a social outcast, worsened by at times a fruitless, prolonged and exhaustive, painful labour. Most men end up divorcing these women as the sexual activity is affected, further deepening the impact of the injury and its associated loss and accompanying stress. The development of an obstetric fistula is directly linked to obstructed labour, one of the major causes of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Medium to low income countries can manage obstetric fistulae by advocating for a delayed age of first pregnancy, encouraging the cessation of harmful traditional practices and promoting timely access to maternity and obstetric care, and when present disseminating information of its repair by simple surgery. It is therefore of vital importance that women be prepared to avoid early marriage, teenage pregnancy, appreciate the importance of educating a child, and have access to hospital care provisions and prenatal care services.