EngenderHealth | 2012
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In Nigeria, health care professionals formerly believed that obstetric fistula primarily occurred in the northern part of the country. However, field experience and recent findings from the Demographic and Health Survey have shown otherwise: In the 2008 Nigeria DHS, the percentage of women reporting having experienced symptoms consistent with obstetric fistula ranged from about 0.5% in the north to around 0.3% in the southern areas of the country. While the most common cause of obstetric fistula is obstructed or prolonged labor, underlying factors such as poverty, a dearth of skilled birth attendants, poor health seeking behaviors, poor referral systems, poor transportation networks and inadequate obstetric care services contribute to the occurrence of obstetric fistula. These challenges are not a problem of only one region within the country or of Nigeria alone. These same conditions apply in many areas of Nigeria and in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.