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 OJN  Vol.5 No.4 , April 2015
Health Workers’ Assessment of the Frequency of and Caring for Urinary and Fecal Incontinence among Female Victims of Sexual Violence in the Eastern Congo: An Exploratory Study
Abstract: Background: Throughout the long war that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has endured, women and children have been depicted as the primary victims of widespread sexual violence. In some settings women have been raped in entire villages, with devastating physical and psychological consequences, which include sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, trauma and fistulas, as well as social isolation and involuntary pregnancies. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalent perceptions of health professionals on the magnitude of urine and/or fecal incontinence among assaulted women, caused by sexual violence, as well as the opinions regarding the type of care provided to affected women. Methods: The study was part of a larger pilot study that had a cross-sectional design and a descriptive approach, which explored health professionals’ views regarding their own levels of competence at responding to the health needs of victims of sexual violence, in the form of a semi-structured questionnaire. Results: 104 health workers responded to the questionnaire. Nurses reported seeing raped women more frequently on a day-to-day basis (69.2%), in comparison to medical doctors and social workers (11.5%). Urinary incontinence was common according to 79% of health workers, who estimated that up to 15% of the women affected experienced huge amounts of urine leakage. Only 30% of the care seekers underwent in depth investigations, but the majority of the victims were not offered any further examination or appropriate treatments. Conclusion: Urinary and fecal incontinence due to urogenital or colorectal fistulas among women exposed to sexual violence is a common in the specified setting, but lack of systematic investigation and appropriate treatment means that the quality of life of the victims may be negatively affected. An improvement in the ability of health workers to manage these complex diagnoses is urgently needed, as well as adequately equipping health services in the affected settings.
Cite this paper: Andersson, G. , Kaboru, B. , Adolfsson, A. and Namegabe, E. (2015) Health Workers’ Assessment of the Frequency of and Caring for Urinary and Fecal Incontinence among Female Victims of Sexual Violence in the Eastern Congo: An Exploratory Study. Open Journal of Nursing, 5, 354-360. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2015.54038.
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