The project aims at setting up a surveillance system to monitor the occurrence of urinary incontinence (UI) in women in the EU. The project will focus on incontinence as a consequence of inefficient or inappropriate obstetric care, with the ultimate view to formulate appropriate strategies, policies and actions to avoid these conditions, and thus improve the quality of life of particular sections of the female population.
Urinary Incontinence is a prevalent, bothersome and costly condition affecting primarily women. Incontinence is not a lethal condition, but it deeply impacts women’s quality of life. The issue of UI has been well documented and there are national and international networks focusing on the condition, but there is a lack of systematic, reliable and consistent data particularly with regard to certain sections of the female population. It is a condition that is underreported, making it difficult to provide credible data estimates in terms of numbers of people suffering from UI or the socio-economic burden of this condition. Underreporting has been attributed to cultural and socio-economic factors.
The methodology is highly participative and involves a multi-disciplinary approach. The project methods are based on broad based information collection, the stimulation of international dialogue and exchange of opinion. The starting point and working hypothesis of the project will focus on the causality relationship between obstetrics and obstetric care on the one hand and on UI on the other hand. The project will not attempt to demonstrate this causality relationship as this is well-defined already in the literature. It will, however, examine the risk factors for UI and how obstetric care effects such risks factors both in terms of efficiency and appropriateness.
The proposed action foresees three distinct outcomes: compilation of available information; a forum for dialogue and synergies between existing networks on UI; a feasibility study for obtaining systematic, reliable and consistent data in Europe on the condition of UI in women.