Author: Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee || Freelancer

Merck Foundation, the renowned international organization noted for championing health, men, women and girls’ issues, has organized a medical training for media workers.

Put together in partnership with Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the training which came off on March 23, 2023, was facilitated by medical professionals from Ghana, Zambia, and Liberia.

The objective of the training is to educate and equip media practitioners with increased knowledge on issues such as breaking infertility stigma against women, and to provide possible solutions to infertility.

The training also focused on other health issues such as hypertension and diabetes.

Causes of infertility

In a presentation, Dr. Nowiah Gorpudolo-Dennis from Liberia, listed some causes of infertility in both men and women.

These causes, she said, include untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

The above mentioned STDs, the doctor explained, can be referred to as ‘silent killers’ because they may show little or no symptoms at all.

Another STD that can also cause infertility in women is HIV. The doctor averred that HIV can stop the body from producing the needed hormones to fall pregnant.

“HIV can cause pelvic inflammation disease (PID), irregular menstruation, and ovulation dysfunction. These conditions can deter a woman from getting pregnant, Dr. Dennis noted.

Increasing pregnancy chances

However, there are good and simple ways to increase the chances of getting pregnant, the doctor said.

She mentioned moderate exercise, eating balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight as some of the things to do. She cautioned, however, that intense and rigorous exercise can affect periods and frustrate a woman’s chances to get pregnant.

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The doctor further advised women to quit smoking, limit caffeine intake, and reduce stress as much as possible.

For the men, she advised that it is necessary to avoid drugs, limit alcohol intake, avoid high temperatures that can damage sperm production, and also to strive to keep healthy while avoiding environmental toxins.

“The good news is that one can go from infertile to fertile because infertility, like every state, is a diagnosis of a disease state. Depending on the cause or underlining factor, it can be cured,” Doc Dennis revealed.

A Zambian medical doctor, Dr. Francisca Tsitenge, who was also a speaker at the training, reiterated the need for women to exercise moderately.

She also said that it is necessary for people avoid asking couples when they are having children because, among other things, it not healthy.

The doctor condemned gender-based violence (GBV), and outmoded cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, which she noted go a long way to cause infertility in women.

She charged the media to go on and increase in their advocacy, stressing that it takes a man and woman to have a child, and that women should not be stigmatized.

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