Blantyre — Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust on Saturday launched its Infertility Community Awareness Campaign in Blantyre with a call to Malawians to end stigma against families without children due to infertility.
Speaking at Chisenjere Court in Senior Chief Kapeni in Blantyre, Special Advisor to the First Lady Madame Gertrude Mutharika on Health and Planning, Emma Mabvumbe said research has shown that many families that are childless were exposed to various forms of torture and abuse.
Mabvumbe said among others, infertile families are disrespected in the community, less considered in community projects and most often lived a stressful life.
She described the tendency as bad, saying it contributes to loss of life, increased broken marriages, forces members of the affected families to contract HIV and AIDS while in search of a child and promotes violence in many marriages.
"The campaign today follows the official launch of the Infertility Programme by the First Lady and Merck Foundation on July 16, this year (2019) in Lilongwe.
"Apart from ending stigma, we also want to encourage affected families that it is possible to have children and all what is required is for them to visit our health facilities and seek help.
"Besides, we would like to appeal to the community to look at people who are childless as normal, just like anyone else," Mabvumbe said.
She, therefore, appealed to married couples not to divorce each other on the pretext of pressure from the community.
"Please don't end your marriage because you don't have a child. First, people must understand that a child is a gift from God and on top of that, chances are high for the childless to have a gift of a child so long as they follow instructions from the hospital," she added.
With support from Merck Foundation, BEAM Trust is expected to conduct a number of awareness activities in all districts across the country.
Launched under the theme: "Addressing infertility, restoring dignity to the affected," the initiative also seeks to train doctors who would help in detecting the problems the affected families have, assist accordingly and further encourage establishment of groups that would be visited with special counsellors.
During the meeting, Dr. Veronica Ng'oma told the gathering that among other reasons that contribute to one being childless is low sperm count in men, failure to study the menstrual cycle and fibroids of the womb in women, and immaturity of private parts for both parties.
Ng'oma said suffering from sexual transmitted diseases could also be a reason for families not to have children, emphasizing on the need for those concerned to go to hospital as there is high possibility for such families to bear children.
"Time has come for the affected families to come out and seek assistance. As health officers, we are ready to assist anyone who has this challenge," said Ng'oma.
Christopher Matchado and his wife Lucy Matchado testified to the gathering that for the eight years they have been married, a lot has been said about them but praised God for the strong bond that exists between them.
"I am a primary school teacher at Chikwawa Primary School in Dedza and it has always been hard for me to work in an environment where all my colleagues have children.
Sometimes when I try to shout at children in class, I end up being rebuked by my friends as well as parents of the children," said Matchado.
Meanwhile, Senior Group Village Head Manesi Kapeni, who represented Senior Chief Kapeni has since promised to take a leading role in the campaign in ensuring that more affected families are reached.
"This is a serious matter in our community because we have families that are childless. These people are tortured day in and day out and we applaud BEAM and Merck Foundation for the initiative which gives hope to the affected families," Kapeni said.