INFERTILITY: Lamentation of stigmatisation against African women

Nkemdili Okeke (not real name) is a secondary school certificate holder who got married in 2011 at the age of 25, to a wealthy businessman in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Five years after marriage, she was yet to conceive. She was  subjected to dehumanising treatments by her husband’s family.
Nkemdili’s mother-inlaw suddenly became a thorn in her flesh, daily raining abuses on her, calling her all sorts of names, and even accusing her of being a witch that eats up the babies in her womb.
That’s not all.
At other times, Nkemdili’s mother-inlaw accused her of ruining her womb.
This went on and on for years, that Nkemdili’s husband became pressurised by the mother to get a second wife for himself. The claims were that Nkemdili was to be blamed for her inability to conceive.
However, on the advice of a neighbour, Nkemdili and her husband, sought medical attention, and lo and behold, it was discovered that it had not all been Nkemdili’s fault but her husband’s, as he was diagnosed to have low sperm count.
Today, there are millions of Nigerian women suffering these forms of dehumanisation due to their inability to conceive, and in most cases, the fault is usually laid on their doorsteps, without the slightest knowledge that the men could be the cause of the problems.
A recent statistics by the World Health Organisation showed that  more than 180 million couples (1 in every 4 couples) in developing countries suffer from primary or secondary infertility. WHO says infertility in Africa is caused by infections in over 85 percent women compared to 33 percent worldwide which emphasize the importance of prevention programmes in Africa.
It’s against this backdrop that world’s foremost pharmaceutical and chemical company, Merck, launched in Nigeria, its “Merck More than a Mother” initiative aimed at combating infertility and the stigmatization associated with it in Nigeria.

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Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2017