Obstetric Fistula Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Nursing
Title Obstetric Fistula Policy in Nigeria: A Critical Discourse Analysis
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL https://era.library.ualberta.ca/files/c73666475q/Amodu_Oluwakemi_C_201608_MN.pdf
Obstetric fistula continues to affect women in Nigeria in spite of the existence of a policy
to eliminate obstetric fistula in Nigeria. First I discussed the socio-cultural issues related to
obstetric in Northern Nigeria. I used a critical discourse analysis to explore the obstetric fistula
(OF) policy in Nigeria and broader social policies and constitutional law on which the policy was
based. Findings of the analysis revealed that the OF policy did not capture the full reality of the
constitutional environment in Nigeria as it contradicts with the agenda to end OF. The policy
semantic was medicalized with significant silence on the role of other stakeholders in health,
such as midwives, in the agenda for ending obstetric fistula. The policy was focused on reduction
rather elimination. There was significant victim stereotyping of women with a behaviour change
strategy fashioned after parent Safe Motherhood strategies. For there to be a head way in the
agenda to end OF, social policies related to reproductive health and rights of girls must be made
to align with the agenda to eliminate obstetric fistula. In particular, the Marriage act and the
Matrimonial Causes Act of Nigeria needs to establish appropriate age of consent for marriage to
protect minors from forced marriages at national and sub-national level. As long as child
marriages exist, a policy to eliminate obstetric fistula cannot be realized. Also, midwifery
services need to be expanded all over Africa to have more women deliver their babies safely.

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