A 2010 study published in the BioMed Central Journal on select hospitals in Kenya found that some of the risk factors for developing obstetric formula included: delays in making decisions to seek delivery services after six hours of labor onset, taking more than two hours to reach a healthy facility, and labor duration of more than 24 hours.
Women with fistula live face a myriad of problems. Leaking urine and faeces can in turn lead to other medical problems such as genitals sores or ulcerations, frequent infection, dehydration and kidney disease. A lot of stigma is also associated with women who have fistula. Because of the leaking urine or feaces, they emit a constant unpleasant odour, and it is this that makes people reject, isolate and abandon them. Furthermore, because of difficult sexual relations, some husbands leave their wives. Many such women live a sad life, sometimes leading to depression and in some cases, suicide.
Fistula also has economic repercussions. Many women with this condition often experience a disruption in their normal living. Because of the associated stigma, they soon find themselves cut off from their families and friends, finding it hard to attend family, community, religious or social gatherings. Many eventually find it hard to work and earn money, driving them into poverty.
Obstetric fistula is both preventable and treatable. One way is through strengthening health care systems, which should then be able to provide accessible and quality maternal health care by skilled attendants. Access to emergency obstetrics services to all women around the country should also be a priority.