Fertility Support Group (FSG) Africa, an online community network has underscored the need for the Federal Government to ensure the listing of persons Trying To Conceive (TTC) in the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in Nigeria.
The group gave the charge on Saturday in Abuja, during the marking of its five years anniversary as well as the celebration of the 16 days activism on Gender based Violence (GBV), with theme, “Unite Against Stigmatization of TTC Moms.”
The Chief Executive Officer Fertility Support Awareness and Aid Initiative, Hajia Saratu Kassim, observed that the scheme make provision for only couples with children, urging the government to expand the scope of the insurance service to accomodate women who are trying to conceive.
Kassim further urged the government to provide awareness on fertility issues by way of educating young girls as a preventive measures as well as gather data in tackling the problems of infertility.
“We call on government to include fertility treatment as part of NHIS, as the scheme covers only the man,wife and four children, but for the couple trying to conceive their major problem is to get a child.
“The government should consider at least if not covering IVF but to cover priliminary testing or a percentage of health procedures women who are trying to conceive need to carryout.
“Also, reproductive health education, our girls need to know when they are most fertile for us we just discovered our self along the line, we stumbled upon it. Nobody taught or told us that this is the time you’re likely to get pregnant or most fertile periods.
“And then data collection, as one of the problems we actually acknowledged is that there’s no data, no support, as emphasis has been on family planning because everybody feels Africa is overpopulated. So emphasis, programs, everything has always supported family planning. If we do not have data, how do we plan.”
The CEO, further charged the government to provide massive awareness on fertility, while lamenting the continues torture TTC women go through from society, in-laws and family members, due to their inability to bear children.
She said, “Create awareness on the issue,as this is the government responsibility to stop the stigma and pressure on TTC Women.
“With awareness people will no longer see infertility as the woman’s fault alone we need people to know that infertility is a woman and man’s issue and not just the woman alone.
“Women who are trying to conceive are vulnerable in this part of the world, the emphasis is on women and they are being shamed. They are the ones that have been called names, they suffer domestic violence from their spouses,inlaws and stigma, pressure from the society,” she stressed.
The Chief Gynacologist Specialist National Hospital, Rais Ibrahim reiterated the need for government to make concerted efforts in tackling the issues of fertility as this may affect their productivity in work environment.
“People are suffering from infertility and the issue is being neglected. We are advocating government to create awareness for people to seek for care and some form of support, because a woman or a man who doesn’t have any child may not give his best if he is employed by the government or any stablishment and it can lead to low productivity.
He further noted the various causes of infertility stating “many of the factors that lead to infertility in women include tubal factors, problem with ovulation problem with the cervix, problem of infections, endometriosis. And a new discovery is women delaying thier reproductive career untill she is way too old.”
Also, A Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Expert Dr. Chris Danga said, unfortunately Infertility can never be eradicated, as the prevalence of infertility issues in Nigeria is alarming, adding lifestyle issues bordering on the mindset and basic things, toxins in our environment and other things are also factors.
Rabiat Jibril a participant and a TT urged women to seek safe space where they can unburden and learn how to go about their normal life while TTC, as anxiety and stress will have more negative effect on their health and well being.