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Uganda to host first ever infertility symposium

By Vivian Agaba

Added 27th February 2018 03:44 PM

Opendi said the symposium provides an opportunity for Africa’s fertility care providers, trainers, researchers and policy makers to pool and share knowledge and experience with experts from across the world.

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Opendi said the symposium provides an opportunity for Africa’s fertility care providers, trainers, researchers and policy makers to pool and share knowledge and experience with experts from across the world.

PIC: Vice-president of the African Fertility Society James Olobo-Lalobo and state minister for health in charge of general duties Sarah Opendi interact during a press briefing on the upcoming fertility symposium at Media Centre in Kampala on February 27, 2018. (Credit: Maria Wamala)

HEALTH | FERTILITY


KAMPALA - Uganda will on Thursday host the international infertility symposium, the first of its kind on the African continent.

The event will be hosted by the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and Uganda Fertility Society and will take place at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
 
The symposium will be under the theme, Infertility awareness, access, capacity building and management in sub-Saharan Africa for happy families.

This was revealed by the state minister for health in charge of general duties, Sarah Opendi, during a press briefing at media centre on Tuesday.

Opendi said the symposium provides an opportunity for Africa’s fertility care providers, trainers, researchers and policy makers to pool and share knowledge and experience with experts from across the world.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

It is a reproductive disease that affects both men and women, and WHO indicates that 50% of infertility is as a result of the male factor.  

Journalists listen during a press briefing on the upcoming fertility symposium at Media Centre in Kampala, February 27, 2018.

“When many couples in Africa fail to have children, the blame is always placed on women, yet men also contribute 50% to failure to have children because of infertility,”

“When a couple fails to have children, it is important that the couple visits specialists together to find out the cause and access treatment together rather than men sending only the women,” Opendi advised.

According to WHO, one in every four couples in developing countries had been found to be affected by infertility. This prevalence is based on patient numbers who came to the clinics requesting for assistance related to infertility. 

Opendi said in Uganda, about 10-15% of the couples cannot have children due to infertility. About 75% of these are due to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which lead to blockage of fallopian tubes in women and sperm ducts among men. 

Other common causes of infertility in men include abnormal sperm production or dysfunction due to genetic defects, health problems such as diabetes or infections and undescended testicles.
 
Sexual problems such as premature ejaculation, genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, damage or injury to reproductive organs can also cause infertility in men.

In addition, Opendi noted that environmental factors such as chemicals and radiation, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, use of drugs and steroids can also cause infertility.

On the other hand, infertility among women is caused by a number of factors, among them, ovulation disorders, uterine and cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage and blockage often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube.

Dr James Olobo-Lalobo, the vice-president of African Fertility Society, said infertility has become common today than it was 50 years ago. He attributes this to changes in peoples’ life styles, adding that despite it being a silent disease, it should be brought out in the open and addressed.

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