For a woman to have her hands chopped off by her husband because she was unable to give birth to her own children is the height of wickedness.
It means more work needs to be done to fight unfair treatment and stigmatization of women with fertility challenges are concerned.
The perception that women are the only cause of infertility needs to change, and the time is now.
It is in this vein Merck More than a mother foundation organized a media training to educate journalist and encourage them to help fight stigmatization and correct wrong perceptions on infertility.
The training which was held in Accra for journalists nationwide, Thursday had four speakers who all emphasized on the fact that the cause of infertility is 50-50. This means it is not only women who are responsible for not being able to conceive; men also play a part.
The training focused on; “The Role of the Media to break the stigma around infertility and infertile women in Africa” and the speakers included, President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Affail Monney, Dr. Edem Hiadzi, a Gynaecologist and a fertility specialist, Ekta Pal, a Representation from the Merck Foundation and Linda Asante-Agyei, GJA Vice President.
Dr. Edem Hiadzi
Dr. Hiadzi in his presentation said infertility is one of the major causes of problems among couples and condemned the tradition which often blames women for childlessness. The cause is 50-50 he reiterated.
In men, infertility can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases especially by Gonorrhea and Chlamydia account for a significant proportion. These infections cause chronic epididymitis and occlusion of the vas deferens leading to low sperm count and azoospermia (no sperms in semen)
In women, some of the causes include: Endometriosis, Anovulation from polysystic ovarian disease, hyperprolactinaemia, premature ovarian failure or other problem from the cervix; adding most of these causes have solutions and can cause little or no harm if they are detected early.
He, therefore, urged the media to do more education on prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Ms Ekta Pal
Ekta on her part, spoke on how the media can use social media to stop stigmatization and promote issues of women and the fact that infertility is not only the cause of women. According to her, there is more work to be done and so all hands must be on deck.
The GJA President said ‘infertility is not a crime’ and so a situation where a woman is blamed for not being able to give birth is unjustified.
He said the role of the media among other things is to talk about infertility on various platforms and also stressed the fact that the cause of infertility is 50-50.
Apart from that, the media must amplify the fact that not being able to have children is not a curse from God and that there are other options available to couples.
He urged the media to advocate for the cost of infertility treatment and other options of having children to be reduced to make it affordable to everyone.
The GJA Vice President also spoke on ethical medical journalism and urged the media not to forget their ethics when writing their stories. She said experts must be involved in their reportage and sensationalism must be avoided.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data, more than 180 million couples in developing countries (which one in every four couples) suffer from primary or secondary infertility.
Primary infertility is where the woman has not given birth or gotten pregnant before and the secondary is the opposite.
The social stigma of childlessness especially for infertile women still leads to isolation and stigmatization in many cultures, especially in Africa.
About ‘Merck More Than A Mother’ campaign
‘Merck More Than A Mother’ initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mindsets. This powerful initiative supports government in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about Infertility, prevention and management. In partnership with academia, ministries of health and international fertility societies, the initiative also provides medical education and training for healthcare providers and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.
With ‘Merck More Than A Mother’, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training the skills of local experts, building advocacy in cooperation with decision makers and by supporting childless women in starting their own small business. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.
About Merck Foundation
The Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com), established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please go to Merck-Foundation.com to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 53,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.
Source: Rebecca Addo Tetteh/Peacefmonline.com/[email protected]/ instagram: rebecca.tetteh
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