Speaking on Tuesday, 29th October, 2019, at the 6th Edition of the Merck Africa Asia Luminary, held at the Kempinksi Hotel, Accra, the President stated that “from being abandoned, depressed, humiliated, insulted, maltreated and stigmatised, women suffer the most”.
It is estimated in Cote d’Ivoire, for example, that 26% of infertile women, compared with 3% of fertile women, have never been married. In Ethiopia, it is said that 85% of childless marriages end in divorce in 5 years. In Tanzania, “a childless widow may not inherit her husband’s wealth”. In South Africa, a survey conducted revealed higher levels of anxiety, depression and anger amongst infertile women.
In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that “a woman who is infertile risks being treated as an outcast, and having her marriage ending. These cases, I believe, are not peculiar to these countries only, but are also representative of the unfortunate situation prevailing on the continent. It must end.”
The factors that lead to infertility, whether anatomical, endocrinological, genetic or immunological, he said, are not ones women wish on themselves.“Yes, there may be other factors, such as infections to the reproductive system and poor health practices, which are preventable and may result in infertility. However, the onus is on each and every one of us to work hard towards finding solutions to addressing infertility and ending stigmatization”, he added.
As a matter of necessity, the President urged participants at the conference to “take urgent steps to incorporate issues regarding infertility prevention and its treatment in the development of maternal and reproductive healthcare policies of our respective countries.”
He continued, “We need to train more gynaecologists and embryologists, and we must, most certainly, make assisted reproductive technology, often referred to as in vitro fertilization (IVF), affordable and more available to the majority of women on the continent, who are faced with infertility.”