US medical students' knowledge of obstetric fistula in developing countries

Trisha Anest, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Obstetric fistula is a devastating child birth injury affecting millions of women worldwide. This paper explores the knowledge and understanding of medical students at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio regarding this global public health issue. Obstetric fistula has been eradicated in most industrialized nations, and has therefore faded from view of many modern medical organizations. The United Nations Population Fund has launched a “Campaign to End Fistula” in an attempt to bring global awareness to this preventable and treatable condition. Based on a survey administered to medical students at UTHSCSA, a baseline understanding of this disorder based on current curriculum is reviewed, with the objective of improving future physicians’ awareness of obstetric fistula. Despite a low survey response rate, there was a significant association between greater knowledge about causes, treatment, and complications of obstetric fistula and advanced years in medical school. However, the fourth year medical students averaged only a 70.5 percent of correct responses on the survey, indicating room for improvement in addressing this topic during medical school.

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Recommended Citation

Anest, Trisha, "US medical students' knowledge of obstetric fistula in developing countries" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1462415.