Obstetric fistula and sociocultural practices in Hausa community of Northern Nigeria.

Women Birth. 2017 Mar 7. pii: S1871-5192(17)30076-8. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.02.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Obstetric fistula and sociocultural practices in Hausa community of Northern Nigeria.

Amodu OC, Salami B, Richter S.


BACKGROUND: Obstetric Fistula is a childbirth injury that disproportionately affects women in sub-Saharan Africa. Although poverty plays an important role in perpetuating obstetric fistula, sociocultural practices has a significant influence on susceptibility to the condition. AIM: This paper aims to explore narratives in the literature on obstetric fistula in the context of Hausa ethno-lingual community of Northern Nigeria and the potential role of nurses and midwives in addressing obstetric fistula. DISCUSSION: Three major cultural practices predispose Hausa women to obstetric fistula: early marriages and early child bearing; unskilled birth attendance and female circumcision and sociocultural constraints to healthcare access for women during childbirth. There is a failure to implement the International rights of the girl child in Nigeria which makes early child marriage persist. The Hausa tradition constrains the decision making power of women for seeking health care during childbirth. In addition, there is a shortage of nurses and midwives to provide healthcare service to women during childbirth. CONCLUSION: To improve health access for women, there is a need to increase political commitment and budget for health human resource distribution to underserved areas in the Hausa community. There is also a need to advance power and voice of women to resist oppressive traditions and to provide them with empowerment opportunities to improve their social status. The practice of traditional birth attendants can be regulated and the primary health care services strengthened.

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