Date: 19 January 2017 03:16
Women in Taita Taveta County have urged the government put measures to reduce cost of infertility treatment in the country.
Speaking at Voi Wildlife Lodge, the more than 150 women experiencing childlessness in the county said most of them cannot afford fertility treatment.
The women will undergo a programme to help them overcome discrimination and stigma associated with not bearing children.
The programme was launched by Merck Africa ambassador and Taita Taveta Woman Representative Joyce Lay on Wednesday.
Some of the women narrated their struggle and urged the government to make access to such treatment easy.
“I have been trying to conceive for the last six years and I have used more than Sh700 000 for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and I am yet to get a child. Am now broke and without a baby,” said Ms Sofia Munyao.
Ms Munyao said she was forced to sell her property to raise money for the treatment in Mombasa and Nairobi hospitals.
“Last year my husband and I were forced to sell our land to raise Sh500 000 to undergo the IVF process after it failed, we were told to pay Sh120 000 for repetition of the process and we are yet to pay the money because we cannot afford it,” she added.
She said low cost treatment is their only hope.
Ms Valentinah Ngazo, narrated how her husband divorced her after she failed to bear him children after five years of marriage.
“My husband refused to go to hospital thinking that I was the one with the problem. Lack of awareness about infertility cost me my marriage,” she said.
Ms Lay said infertility is a neglected problem in Kenya and Africa at large.
She said some couples are forced to seek alternative care from herbalists, witchdoctors and religious sects due to high cost of treatment in hospitals.
“The country has no provision for public facility care because they have not given a priority to this issue,” she said.
She said Parliament will pass an IVF Bill to ensure that all counties get an infertility clinic in all Level Five hospitals and also create awareness about infertility and where to get treatment and help,” she said.
“Some women have been labelled names and some chased away from their matrimonial homes. We need to stop this discrimination against women passing though these challenges,” she said.
Ms Lay has been on the forefront to champion against stigma associated with childlessness in Africa.
“Unfortunately women are forced to bear all the blame in the society. The community should know that infertility is a shared responsibility,” she said.