Obstetric fistula has been defined as an ‘abnormal communication’ between the vagina and the bladder or rectum of a woman which results in continuous leakage of urine and/or faeces. The most common cause of obstetric fistula is obstetric trauma. Obstetric fistula is a highly stigmatising condition; often the women are neglected and or ostracised.
To establish the knowledge and awareness of fistula among men and women living in an area where fistula prevalence is rising.
In this cross-sectional study, women and their partners were recruited purposefully in two counties Kenya: Nyamira and Kisii and interviewed using structured interviews. Data were cleaned and entered into Excel. SPSS was used for descriptive data analysis. Chi2 test was conducted to compare responses according to gender and level of education.
Three hundred participants (253 women and 47 men) were interviewed over a 3-month period. Responses from women and men were similar. Few (32%) participants reported having seen a woman with fistula in their community. Just over half (53%) said that they knew what causes fistula, of which 89% said they knew that fistula could be treated. Only 27% said that the health care provider mentioned fistula during health education talks. Participants educated to a level above secondary school were more knowledgeable about fistula.
Fistula information is lacking among community members. There is a need to scale up training and community awareness campaigns to help eradicate fistula from Kenya.
Keywords: Fistula, Obstetric, Survey, Kenya, Women, Men