Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Prevalence of Reproductive Tract Infections, Genital Prolapse, and Obesity in a Rural Community in Lebanon

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Prevalence of Reproductive Tract Infections, Genital Prolapse, and Obesity in a Rural Community in Lebanon

Article excerpt

Objective To determine the prevalence of reproduction-related illnesses in a rural community in Lebanon.

Methods Data were collected through interviews with women in their homes, physical examinations and history taking by physicians in a clinic in the community, and laboratory tests. A total of 557 ever-married women aged 15-60 years were selected randomly.

Findings Just over half of the sample (268, 50.6%) had five or more children and (320,78.9%) of women aged <45 years were using contraception. The prevalence of reproductive tract infections was very low: six (1.2%) women had sexually transmitted diseases and 47 (9.3%) had endogenous reproductive tract infections. None had chlamydial infection or a positive serological finding of syphilis. None had invasive cervical cancer, and only one had cervical dysplasia. In contrast, genital prolapse and gynaecological morbidity were elevated. Half of the women studied (251, 49.6%) had genital prolapse, and 153 (30.2%) were obese.

Conclusion The prevalence of reproductive tract infections in this conservative rural community in east Lebanon was low. Possible explanations include the conservative nature of the community, the high rate of utilization of health care services, and the liberal use of antibiotics without a prescription. More importantly, the study showed an unexpectedly high prevalence of genital prolapse and obesity--a finding that has clear implications for primary health care priorities in such rural communities.

Keywords Genital diseases, Female/epidemiology; Urogenital diseases/epidemiology; Urinary tract infections/epidemiology; Sexually transmitted diseases/epidemiology; Infection/epidemiology; Prevalence; Risk factors: Cultural characteristics Lebanon (source: MeSH, NLM).

Mots cles Gynecologique, Maladie/epidemiologie; Appareil urogenital, Maladies/epidemiologie; Urinaire, Infection/epidemiologie; Maladies sexuellement transmissibles/epidemiologie; Infections/epidemiologie; Prevalence; Facteur risque; Moeurs; Liban (source: MeSh, INSERM).

Palabras clave Enfermedades de los genitales femeninos/epidemiologia; Enfermedades urogenitales/epidemiologia; Infecciones urinarias/epidemiologia; Enfermedades sexualmente transmisibles/epidemiologia; Infeccion/epidemiologia; Prevalencia; Factores de riesgo; Caracteristicas culturales; Libano (fuente: DeCS, BIREME).

Voir page 644 le resume en francais. En la pagina 644 figura un resumen en espanol.


At a time of worldwide financial crisis, information on reproductive morbidity is essential to ensure the most appropriate allocation of existing resources and the planning of cost-effective health care strategies (1, 2). Community-based information on reproductive morbidity in developing countries is scarce (3). Data often are collected from clinics and hospitals because of the relative logistical case and the low cost of data collection.

Knowledge about the prevalence of reproductive morbidity and its determinants in Lebanon is almost nonexistent (4). Such information is critical, as it constitutes the background against which priorities in different aspects of health care are determined and appropriate recommendations to health policy-makers are developed. The heath care system in Lebanon is undergoing major change after many years of civil war (5, 6). The challenge ahead is to create a system that can accommodate the new needs of the community and adapt to modern concepts of health care.

With this background in mind, this study aimed to evaluate the demographic, clinical, and microbiological profiles of women in a rural community in east Lebanon. Nabi Sheet was chosen as the study community because of its limited resources (especially in terms of access to health care services within the village) and the high fertility of its women. The town of Nabi Sheet was also selected for logistical ease, as it was near ,an establishment that belonged to the American University of Beirut. …

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