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Modelling allocation of resources in prevention and control of obstetric fistula in Ugandan women
Authors: Betty Nannyonga and Martin Singull
Source: PLOS ONE , DOI:
Topic(s): Delivery care
Maternal mortality
Obstetric fistula
Country: Africa
Published: SEP 2020
Abstract: In spite of reliable and skilled healthcare resources, the prevalence rate of obstetric fistula in Uganda is high. The risk factors for obstetric fistula cut across due to high poverty rates and cultural barriers. The main objective of this study was to assess the impact of inability to access skilled healthcare at delivery and implications to the economy. The specific objective was to determine the best way of investment in getting women access to skilled healthcare before, during and after child birth. The question to be answered was whether it was more economical to invest in getting women access to skilled healthcare, or in expanding healthcare. The study was conducted using data from the Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2016. The data was from 18,506 women in the age group of 15-49 in 15 regions around the country. Results show that the highest investment in providing access to skilled healthcare is required when there are few skilled healthcare centres. On the other hand, if there is little investment in providing access to skilled healthcare during child birth, many skilled healthcare centres are required. Results show further that the minimum time taken to reduce fistula prevalence is attained when there are many women accessing skilled healthcare in the few equipped health centres. However, if there are many skilled healthcare centres but a few women treated for obstetric fistula, then it will take longer to reduce fistula prevalence. Fitting the model to data suggested that Uganda has a big backlog of women to treat for obstetric fistula as in all skilled healthcare centres, there were less women treated than expected. Although still under the expected figure, the benefit of these treatments for obstetric fistula is that for every one woman treated, 8 more would seek treatment for the condition. This would however cost the country a great deal in that the treatment funds would perhaps give more returns if diverted to outreach activities aimed to get women seek skilled healthcare during child birth.