Maxwell Awumah, GNA Correspondent, Dakar, Senegal, Courtesy EDCTP
Dakar, Senegal, Sept 3, GNA – Dr Thabo
Matsaseng, Fertility expert at the headquarters of the World Health
Organisation (WHO) has said that tubal blockade and damages resulting from caesarean
section surgeries are compounding the risks factors of infertility in women.
He said scientific evidence shows that scars
of caesarean sections, not the only risk factor, though, of infertility was
posing greater threat to infertility in women, which needed to be addressed
through simple strategies of post-partum follow-ups.
Dr Matsaseng said these at the side event of
“Development and Implementation of Integrated and Affordable Assisted
Reproductive Technologies (ART) in the African Region,” as part of the 68th
WHO-AFRO Regional Committee session in Dakar, Senegal.
He said more than 186 million ever-married
women aged between 15-49, in developing countries were infertile, due to
primary or secondary infertility, with women bearing the brunt of the inability
to conceive, when infertility affects both men and women.
The Fertility Expert said one-in-every-four
persons in the African region are infertile with over 50% affecting men, saying
sexually transmitted infections and unsafe abortions were other causes.
“Infertility is perceived by many in Sub
Saharan Africa as a paradox in family planning and needed to be promoted,”
Dr Matsaseng said evidence available shows
that there are enough information and services on family planning for young
people to consume but the fear for infertility and sterility distances them
from these services, and entreated that a comprehensive sexuality education was
waged to assuage their predicament.
He fears the targets set in the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs), that borders on reproductive health and sexuality, including
infections, infertility and HIV, could jeopardize the attainment of the 2030
deadline target, like was the case in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
suspecting that a different target of 2060 was eminent, if these issues
Dr Matsaseng announced that the WHO in the
next year or so, has pledged to release guidelines on diagnosis, prevention and
treatment of infertility for both men and women, stating that, “The work is in
progress and hopes to deliver this guidelines that will set norms and
Professor Oladapo Aderenle Ashiru, President
of the African Fertility Society said ART has evolved in Africa with Nigeria
leading the pact with the emergence of its first in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
baby in 1989 and later Ghana, in 1995, stating that currently there were 150
fertility clinics operational on the continent.
He said the Society has chalked some
successes, including discovering pre-implantation genetic testing mechanism for
sickle cell patients to have babies, low dose IVF processes and vaginal
incubator technology to facilitate planting fertilized eggs in a woman’s womb
Prof Ashiru said nutritional toxins emanating
from fish contaminated with high metals like mercury, chemical residues from
fruits and vegetables, in addition to women driving with bare foot may attract
metals and consequently suffer infertility.
Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive of Merck Foundation
and President of “Merck More Than A Mother,” said Merck was working tirelessly
to break the barriers of culture, stigma and poverty, which impugn fertility
issues in the society and urging the media to raise the awareness in these
matters to promote comprehensive sexuality education.
She called for consensus building to address
infertility in the African region as part of the universal access to
reproductive health and rights.
Mrs Sarah Achieng Opendi, Ugandan Minister of
Health and General Duties, noted that, fertility care clinics are privately
owned and services are expensive for the ordinary people and therefore called
on African governments to support the legion of infertile men and women and
craft legislations to regulate the services.
She asked men to drop egos and access
fertility services since evidence abounds that not every semen carries sperm, a
vital stock in making a woman pregnant.