Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on obstetric fistula repair program in Zimbabwe

April 1, 2021

Chipo Chimamise ,Stephen Peter Munjanja ,Mazvita Machinga ,Iris Shiripinda.


This retrospective cross-sectional study documented the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on a fistula repair program in Zimbabwe, using data from a fistula repair camp at Mashoko Christian Hospital between November to December 2020. The study found that although 90 women were called for the repair camp, 52 women did not attend because of various Covid-19 restriction related reasons. This included no access to travel authorization documents (16), fear of catching Covid-19 (8), being afraid of law enforcement agents (15), and being turned back by law enforcement agents at check-points (13). Participants from Manicaland and Masvingo provinces were about 11 times more likely to attend than those from other provinces, which does not necessarily indicate only a higher prevalence in those providences, but also increased awareness. Overall, the number of women that received this repair was greatly reduced to 25 in 2020, in comparison to 313 in 2019. The study recommended that the obstetric fistula surveillance system be scaled up and intensified to link women with treatment, to increase the number of treatment centers to reduce long distance travel, and to use technology and social media to sustain screening and identification of women living with fistula.

Chimamise C, Munjanja SP, Machinga M, et al. Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on obstetric fistula repair program in Zimbabwe. PLoS One 2021; 16: e0249398.