• July 6th, 2020

Erasing the stigma of infertility

First Lady Monica Geingos says it is wrong to still position motherhood and fatherhood as the ultimate goal for women and men. “If you cannot have children, you remain a human being. You remain a woman or a man. To say our role is just to be a father or just be a mother is not true because that is not the reason we were put in this world,” said Geingos who was speaking at a book launch on infertility at the Augustinuem Secondary School in Windhoek on Friday. 

On Wednesday, the Office of the First Lady in partnership with the Merck Foundation under Rasha Kelej launched the campaign on infertility to raise awareness on the challenges and possible solutions to empower infertile men, women, couples and their families through access to information, health and change of mindset. 

Geingos said they are targeting young people with messaging because they know they have an influence on their parents. “We are talking to you about this issue because we know there are parents who are not dealing with issues of infertility in a sensitive matter,” said Geingos. 

She said family planning discussions need to be holistic and not just speak about teenage pregnancies or planned pregnancy. “We must also teach if one day you are in a position to have a child. It is not automatic that I want to have a child this year therefore I am going to have a child. It doesn’t happen like that. Certain things will affect your ability one day when you are in a situation to have a child,” said Geingos, also highlighting that alcohol and drug abuse, consequences of sexual violence and rape of young girls do result in infertility.

She noted that people are unable to conceive because of a number of reasons. “We just don’t want to speak about prevention or speak about different routes to take in your life when it is a challenge in your life. We also want to speak to you about what if it happens in your life or within your family because this will be an opportunity for you to lead,” remarked Geingos. 

Acting education minister Martin Andjaba said that as society is dominated by patriarchy it has in the past cast ills on those who are unable to bear children, using own intuition at times to demonise people, especially women. 

Andjaba said the campaign is indeed indicative of the progress the nation is making towards demystifying some of these subjects that continue to be viewed with stigmatisation. “Therefore, by deliberately targeting the learners whilst they are young can only be lauded as a positive prospect as this will plant the seed of open-mindedness in these children when they become adults.”

On her part, Kelej said whether one has children or not, one is a valuable member of society. She said they are creating awareness so that these learners can one day have confidence and don’t accept discrimination or be ashamed when unable to conceive.  “When you become a mother in-law or sister in-law – do not harass or mistreat (childless people) but offer support,” she said.

Selma Ikela
2020-03-16 07:14:42 | 3 months ago

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