Uncovering Stories of Resilient Women with Obstetric Fistula at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital: A Case Study

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Addis Ababa University


Using the construct of resil ience, this study looks at the experiences of 10 women with the stories of obstetric fistula who "somehow" manage to fu nction well , live well and asp ire well despite faci ng multiple challenges in their li ves. Through the qualitative analys is, it became clear that the women identified different stages of reactions to their di ffic ulti es. In-depth qualitative interviews with those women with the stories of obstetric fistula who have been receiving social supports and medical treatment at Addis Ababa Fistu la Hospi tal for over the four years explored the variables of ri sk, and strengths on the basis of individual functioning. Narrative analysis explored the sal ient issues related to the women's perceptions of social support reso urces, social roles (a purpose to life) and the social integration all of which indicate low as well as their high social iso lation and limited social network. Moreover, this study uncovers the presence of 10 ind ividual strengths as well as processes through which these strengths were important in the experience of women's res ilience. Qualitative findings suggest that role quality and responsibility of managing their life affairs and personal concerns as measured by their work-life experiences and social integration and group supports were inadequate as they received significantly fewer sources of support and used fewer support strategies. However, the variable of individual strengths could be appreciated and promoted since it indicated their higher levels of the individual functioning than the levels of individual risk. Thus, the qualitative research supports the usefulness of identifyi ng and bui lding upon individual and group strengths. To this end, human services providers including social work services should collaborate with the hospital by joining new flexib ility and support strategies in life ski lls domain.



Uncovering Stories of Resilient Women with Obstetric Fistula