An update from our friends in Africa

Dear iCSi friends,

I would like to give you some updates taking place at Joyce Fertility Support Centre and in the African Infertility Alliance.

The African Infertility Alliance in the WHO Bulletin

In Nov 2010, Ms Rita Sembuya contributed to an Article to the WHO Bulletin on issues about infertility on the African context. This was issued in January on the New World Health Organization Website (link to article).

African Infertility Alliance

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The African Infertility Alliance (AIA) is the regional subgroup of the International Consumer Support for Infertility (iCSi). Since 2003, AIA has brought on board 9 national patient organizations working together to empowering patients on matters of health and how to deal with their infertility in the African region.

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Our vision

To empower patients to become full partners in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) health care and public policy by building effective relationships with providers, governments and media worldwide. AIA embraces the vision of the international Consumer Support for infertility (iCSi) patient leader network.

Slogan

“Empowering patients to become full partners in ART, health care and public policy by building effective relationship with provider’s governments and media world wide.

Objectives

  • The major objective is to create a forum for public policy on infertility issues, linking, Africa to the rest of the world.
  • To enhance Education and awareness on the infertility problem and cause, promote ART treatments for infertility and erase the stigma on infertility through education.
  • Transformation of lives social and psychological ,medical,scientific,political well being of persons with infertility and those affected by it through support group establishment and open interactions.
  • Partner with providers, governments in building dialogue and working towards same goal to achieve fundamental human rights to founding a family.

Tools

  • AIA Regional alliances Channeled by Joyce Fertility Support Centre.
  • Joyce Fertility Support Centre has included a AIA page in query for news, in the articles of the Joyce Fertility website.
  • Regional workshops for the African region.
  • Exhibitions
  • Symposia
  • International forum such as iCSi, IAPO, ESHRE
  • Utilizations of the regional Alliance.
  • Produce and send articles

Achievements 

  1. Connections with medical community.
  2. Patients organizations have emerged as voices for patient’s advocacy. Raising issues to the attentions of providers. Breaking silence about infertility and bringing the patients perspectives to the fire front.
  3. A campaign to incorporate infertility treatment the priority programs of countries in a top agenda in the activities of the countries.
  4. Infertility is a recognized condition in all sectors addressing family planning. It is a reproductive component that rates high to be considered a public health condition. Low cost infertility treatment is already under focus in the development countries.
  5. There has been lobbying for ART services, and to date ART clinics have emerged in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria as part of the successful campaigns to deal with the problem of infertility in Africa.
  6. The AIA is a steadfast moving network growing from 3 member countries in 2003 to seven in 2009. It is now possible to hold regional meetings in any one of the regional member country.
  7. AIA is joining hands with professional health associations to enhance partnership between patient’s community and health providers

Challenges

  1. Mobilization for common activities as an alliance is still a challenge.
  2. Struggle to build ART unit in the public hospital to address issues, such as accessibility and affordability for all. Governments are still slow in passing a resolution.
  3. Stigma is still a challenge. Therefore public awareness is not supported by evidence.
  4. Funding programs for infertility in developing countries requires high degree of experienced royalists.

Services

  • Offer information on infertility and empower patients to make informed decisions.
  • Provide a guide to patients and link them to health professionals treatment options in a chosen country, Uganda, Kenya, Israel, Zimbabwe.
  • Practical sessions and meetings.
  • Telephone contacts daily 9:00am -10: pm East African time.
  • Emails interactions daily.
  • Member to member interaction, sharing experiences and challenges in life.
  • Guide to life issues and parenting.
  • Development of learning materials, factsheets, brochures, flyers, billboards

Long term plans

  1. To bridge the gap existing between doctors and the patient community.
  2. A campaign to change the society’s perspectives about infertility in Africa, by highlighting its causes and advancement of assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to making it a treatable disease.
  3. A campaign to incorporate infertility into the priority programs of the health systems of countries.
  4. To work together with other member organizations of African Infertility Alliance as a team to address, key issues, that affects the whole region.
  5. To cause a transformation through lobbying for advanced technologies to be incorporated in developing countries and to lobby for re imbursements in infertility treatments by the health systems to their citizens.
  6. The African Infertility Alliance is a steadfast moving network to promote its visions and ideas to a wider region in Africa and the Middle East. Liking the two regions to Europe, America and Asia Pacific and to the rest of the world.
  7. To foster a dialogue with Family planning Reproductive programs, in researching on different causes of infertility and recognizing infertility as a public health problem.