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A peculiar cry in the pandemic

21 Apr 2020 at 08:53hrs | Views
The whole world has been shaken by a pandemic that has changed the way we have been living. Covid-19 has really affected economic, political, religious and social aspects of nations. Social distancing and hygiene practices are taking the centre stage to prevent the spread of the deadly corona virus. Everyone is concerned about the effects of lockdown on various facets of life. In all this chaos and pandemonium where everyone is scurrying for cover, has anyone ever thought about a group of people who fight battles which most people don't understand? These are the people who usually fight lone battles in trying to build families: the infertile and childless.

Infertility, infecundity and childlessness is rampant especially in developing countries including those in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a world wide reproductive health problem where more than 180 million people are affected globally according to World Health Organisation. Primary Infertility is the inability to fall pregnant within a year of having a regular unprotected sex or inability to carry pregnancy to full term. Secondary infertility is inability to conceive or carry pregnancy to full full term after having previously given birth. Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest infertility rates along with other southern African countries such as Namibia and Lesotho and infertility is reported to be on the increase. Fertility treatment is pricey in private sector, is not regarded as an emergency and health insurance companies do not want to cover fertility treatment in Zimbabwe. With coming in of COVID 19, the infertile and childless' woes have mounted.

According to American Society for Reproductive Medicine(ASRM), there is no much information known yet about COVID-19 and how the virus affects fertility, pregnancy or the children that result. The organisation has recommended some measures until the pandemic subsides or till such a time when more information about it is available. ASRM recommends that no new fertility treatment should be started since there is no time to have procedure such as hysteroscopy or start treatments such as intrauterine insemination or IVF, if one has started fertility medication as part of IVF cycle one may finish the current cycle and have eggs or embryo frozen for later transfer and safety of stored eggs and embryos is a regarded a priority in case cross-contamination can happen. It is also further recommended that mental health,physical and social wellbeing must be taken care of by eating well, doing regular exercise and connecting with friends even remotely. This is essential since infertility, pandemic uncertainty, need for social distancing and a delay or interruption of treatment can each be stressful. Telehealth or telemedicine is also highly recommended among those facing fertility challenges to avoid face to face interractions with physicians.

We call upon all Zimbabweans in the country or abroad to help the infertile and childless couples in any way which can ease their burdens. Already they have suffered a lot emotionally and mentally due to their conditions. Some are no longer financially capacitated due to huge expenses they have incurred during treatments and procedures. It is during these times such as lockdowns and restrictions that one can take time to call a friend or a relative in this predicament checking on them and providing psychosocial support such as counselling and passing solidarity messages so as to foster positive living in them. One can also support them financially so that they are able to buy adequate food to overcome their challenges by having good nutrition. Let's respond to their desperate cries in the midst of storm- the COVID 19 pandemic. Let us remember that it is God who opens the womb or closes it, which means there is no need to abuse, put pressure, ostracise or stigmatize those facing infertility and childlessness.

Heaven Munyuki is a Co-founder of Mwanachipo Africa Trust and Tariro-Hope Support Group.These initiatives help infertile and childless people by easing their individual burdens in family building journeys as well as fostering positive living.For feedback whatsapp +263718745374 or email

Source - Heaven Munyuki
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