Indications for Gynaecological Consultation by Women at a Rural Outreach Centre in North-Central Nigeria

Aims: To identify the reasons for consultations, the common clinical diagnosis and disease pattern at a rural gynaecologic outreach clinic.

Study Design: Descriptive Retrospective Study.

Place and Duration of Study: NKST Hospital Mkar-Gboko, Benue state, North-central Nigeria, in seven years (1st April 2005 to 31st July 2012).

Methodology: Information from the case notes of patients who attended the outreach clinic over the study period were retrieved and analysed. Majority of the patients came by self-referral.

Results: Of the 1,733 women that attended the clinic during the study period, 1,605 (92.6%) women made the inclusion criteria and formed the study population. The age range was 15 to 78 years; mean value of 33.6 +/- 9.5 year; 78% of the women were ages 21 – 40 years.  The mean parity was 2.1 +/- 2.7and ranged between 0 to 13 children.  68% of the women were para 0 – 2 whilst 18% had parity of 5 and above.  The women had 73 reasons and 2,390 presenting complaints, 49.6% of them had multiple presenting complaints (average 1.5 complaints per woman). Most common complaints were inability to conceive, lower abdominal pain and leaking of urine and /or faeces amongst 38%, 11% and 10% of the women respectively. There were 63 disease conditions with 1,793 clinical diagnoses. About 12% of the women had multiple clinical diagnoses.  The three leading clinical diagnoses were infertility, genital fistulae and uterine myoma, in 46%, 12% and 10% of the women respectively; followed by sundry other gynaecological disorders (9%) and medical disease conditions (5%) in which hypertension, diabetes mellitus and retroviral diseases were more frequent in that order.  Some women (n = 21; 1%) came for second opinion.

Conclusion: Gynaecological diseases are diverse and common among women in rural central Nigeria. Inability to conceive, lower abdominal pain and incontinence of urine and or faeces were the three main reasons women sought consultation with the gynaecologist at Mkar. Infertility, genital fistulae, uterine myoma, non-communicable medical disorders and retroviral diseases were leading clinical diagnoses. Extending the services of Gynaecologist to the rural areas in the region may reduce the access gap to women’s health and enhance national development.

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