Dr. Sinan Khaddaj, Secretary General of WAHA International, is a co-author in the paper “Risk factors for obstetric fistula: a clinical review”, published in December 2011 in the International Urogynecology Journal.

The International Urogynecology Journal is a leading journal for researchers, clinicians, and scientists.

Dr Pierre Marie Tebeu, a Cameroonian obstetrician-gynecologist and WAHA collaborator, is the first author of the literature review, which seeks to identify common risk factors for fistula found in studies published between 1987-2008. The article was published in collaboration with authors from the League for Active Research and Initiative for Female Education and Health (LARIFEH), UNFPA, theInstitute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium, the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER), and the regional and university hospitals in Cameroon.

Of a group of 19 studies selected for analysis, 15 originated in sub-Saharan Africa and 4 in the Middle East. Further analysis found that common risk factors for obstetric fistula include teenage pregnancy and delivery, first pregnancy (primiparity), prolonged labor (often caused by an obstructed labor), delivery out of a healthcare facility and without skilled birth attendants, and short stature. Based on these risk factors, Tebeu et al. find that preventative efforts should focus on teenage mothers, first-time mothers and women that have limited access to healthcare facilities or trained care providers. Identifying these risk factors allows for health professionals, policy makers, and NGOs like WAHA to better design our fistula treatment and prevention projects.

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