CALLS BY PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO FOR PEOPLE NOT TO STIGMATISE WOMEN PERCEIVED AS INFERTILE
Many cultural beliefs and practices in Africa tend to degrade women unjustifiably, and this is perpetuated by society in an unfair manner. This unfortunate development comes about as a result of inadequate knowledge or ignorance about the causes of infertility in both men and women. The nail was, therefore, hit right on the head when President Akufo-Addo called on people not to stigmatise women perceived to be infertile. It is possible to come across a fertile woman who is married to a man who has problems with the quality of sperms he produces. In the same way, it is also possible to come across another couple with the woman being infertile.
The issue of infertility can, therefore, result from either the man or the woman. It is, therefore, unfortunate that anytime there is a problem with infertility, particularly in Africa, the blame is always put on the woman. According to the World Health Organisation, fifty percent of the cases of the inability of couples to conceive are caused by infertility in men. If this is the case, then what is needed is for society to focus on the causes of infertility in both men and women so that effective measures can be taken to bring about peace in the homes of married people. It is very good to have children in marriage but even in a situation where this is not possible because both the man and the woman are infertile, there is still the need for family members, friends, and relatives to exercise patience for the couple but not hurl insults on them.
Another way of addressing the problem is taking steps to ensure that our hospitals are well equipped with medical doctors, health professionals and specialists in various fields who would be able to deal with many of the problems of infertility in both men and women. It is equally important for each couple to prepare to subject him or herself to be examined by appropriate medical professionals. Many a time, women are more prepared to go for such medical care whereas the men stay behind and claiming that the woman is blamable. There have been many cases where men with low sperm counts have been carefully examined and treated by health professionals and thereby helped them to make babies with their wives.
There is, therefore, the need for comprehensive sensitisation and education programmes on this matter to influence both men and women to know that the problem of infertility can come from either the man or the woman. This is very important to avoid a situation where the blame of infertility is always unjustifiably blamed on the woman. The humiliation, shame and embarrassment created by such a situation becomes unbearable for such women who are tortured psychologically because of the hard positions or stance taken by society against them. The advice given by President Akufo-Addo regarding the needless stigmatisation of women who are perceived to be infertile ought to be taken in good faith by everyone to help us take steps to show respect to both men and women who, for some reason, are unable to give birth. The President has spoken on an important issue and it is now the responsibility of every person to listen to this good advice and help promote healthy relationships among married couples found in every part of the African continent.
BY DR. KOFI AMPONSAH-BEDIAKO, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY.