Costly infertility treatment bankrupts families – Geingos

The First Lady said for too long infertility has been relatively invisible to policymakers and a great risk to those who suffer from it, particularly women.

29 April 2021 | Health

NAMPA





WINDHOEK

The lack of infertility treatment at public hospitals makes it costly for many families and often bankrupts those who opt to seek private treatment, First Lady Monica Geingos has said.

She said this on Tuesday during the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary virtual conference.

The three-day conference - inaugurated by the president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu - features 19 African First Ladies and over 3 000 other participants in different fields from over 25 African countries discussing healthcare and social issues that can be addressed to contribute to the social and economic development in Africa. It is also aimed at advancing healthcare, media and awareness capacities and capabilities in these countries.

Geingos in a 10-minute video keynote address availed to Nampa said for too long, infertility has been relatively invisible to policymakers and a great risk to those who suffer from it, particularly women.

Most healthcare systems, she said, do not treat infertility, which has made it difficult for low-income earners, specifically those in rural areas, to access information on the cause of infertility and treatment.

“The few who are able to access private healthcare are in urban areas and they do so by incurring significant financial costs which often bankrupt them and brings additional stress to already strained households,” she noted.

Understanding infertility

Geingos therefore called for improved access to services around infertility, development of data management systems, as well as conversation around the role and functions of religious and traditional leaders in the narrative, treatment and understanding of infertility.

She noted that most languages have dehumanising words for those without children, which speaks to the insensitivity and judgement that accompanies infertility and childlessness.

As such, discussions around infertility need to feature not just policymakers but men and traditional and religious leaders, and should capacitate and encourage media professionals to ensure informed and sensitive reporting.

Geingos also said there is a need to establish support groups in all countries on the continent and beyond.

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