By Ahmed Musa
The wife of the President Mrs Aisha Buahri, has expressed dismay over the level of stigmatisation faced by women living with infertility in Nigeria.
Mrs Buhari made the remark on Wednesday in Abuja at an event organised MERCK Pharmaceutical Company in partnership with her pet project “Future Assured’ Initiative.’’
She said that the ways to address the problem was through increased awareness and empowering women with infertility problem.
Mrs Buhari, who was represented by Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, wife of the Vice President, said that there was a need to educate pregnant women to avoid maternal death.
She said that female genital mutilation was another problem faced by expectant mothers.
According to her, infertility in Africa is largely caused by preventable infections and expressed her determination to lead the campaign against stigmatization of persons living with infertility in Nigeria.
She stressed the need for women to get access to healthcare facilities especially at the local level where cases infections are more prevalence.
She said that women who were not infected require information more than medication.
She stressed the need for government at all levels to acquire equipment needed to cater for patient mothers and pregnant women.
“ Financial assistance is key to empowering women with infertility to boost their economic activities” she said.
The first lady assured the MERCK group of the cooperation of her pet project, “Future Assured Initiative’ to eradicate the stigma faced by women suffering from infertility.
In her speech, the Minister of Women Affairs Mrs Aisha Alhassan, said that the Federal Government had earmark N1.2 billion as free interest loan to support women in Agriculture in 2016.
Aisha said that the amount was part of the N40 billion earmarked by the government to support women and youths in agriculture.
She said that the ministry was partnering with the Bank of Agriculture to ensure that Nigerian women and youths, who have interest in agric business benefit from the scheme.
On his part, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said that infertility problems in Nigeria and Africa are preventable.
He promised that the ministry would keep on working with relevant agencies to make policies and legislations to address the situation.
Dr. Mohammed Kamal, National Coordinator, Future Assured Initiative, stated that one of the cardinal objectives of the project was empowerment of women.
He assured MERCK Pharmaceutical Company that the project would cooperate with it to assist Nigerian women.
In her remarks, Dr Rasha Kelej, Vice President of MERCK said the group had been championing the campaign against stigmatizing persons with infertility.
She said that apart from providing medical assistance, the group had also established economic activities to empower women.
She said women should not be seen as production machines but as entrepreneurs.
Wife of the Senate President Mrs Toyin Saraki, who spoke on behalf of senators’ wives forum, said that treatment of infertility was expensive and urged the government to intervene.
She pledged that the forum would lead the campaign against the stigma to the various constituencies of their husbands.