SOCIO-CULTURAL ASPECTS OF INFERTILITY AND ASSOCIATED HEALTH IMPLICATIONS IN A RURAL NIGERIAN COMMUNITY

BY

INNOCENT AHAMEFULE NWOSU
Institute of African Studies,
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Email: innoglo22000@yahoo.com

SUMMARY
Infertility is a major obstacle to good health and peaceful co-existence in many homes especially among the rural dwellers. In spite of this, the problem of infertility has not received adequate attention. Most of the discussions have centered on how to reduce fertility. However, apart from the psychological trauma an infertile woman is exposed to, the burden of infertility manifest in various health problems. The study, therefore, adopted a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Sampling techniques adopted were purposive and multi-stage sampling methods. Data were collected using in-depth interview, key informant interview, focus group discussions and structured interview. It was found that there is a relationship between causes of infertility and the pattern for coping with the disease. To cope with infertility, a lot of actions are taken by the victims such as divorce of spouse, remarriage, infidelity, surrogate marriage, pregnancy as a test of fertility and subsequent abortion. Data also point out that the rate of extra-marital sex is high among infertile couple. This poses great health consequences. Similarly, it is clear that infertility is caused by some diseases such as STDs and dysentery and it further leads to other diseases such as HIV/AIDS and ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. Infertility and some cultural practices are interwoven. This is the reason why extra-marital sex in the quest for children is high but accepted by the society. Infertility, therefore, exposes couple to dangerous sexual habits that have adverse health consequences for human society. To address this, the study on which this paper is based postulated “Disease Interrelationship Model” (DIM), whose goal is to ensure prevention of infertility at the entry point into the disease network. Furthermore, to overcome the consequences of infertility, there is need for fertility health education and mobilization programme; and treatment of infertility in hospitals should be practically free. Again, late marriage among women should be discouraged.

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Posted in VOLUME 13 N0. (2) SEPTEMBER 2011.

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