A Consultant Pediatrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. Okechukwu Kalu, on Monday called for health insurance coverage for the treatment of fertility issues in the country.
Kalu who is also the Proprietor, Life Point Fertility Centre, Aba, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Aba on Monday.
According to him, fertility treatments are expensive and should have some level of health insurance coverage, as done in some countries, to ensure that poor couples could access treatments.
Kalu said that the support would increase the psychological well-being of childless couples and also help the country’s population.
He said the number of infertility cases was on the increase in Nigeria, hence action should be taken to address the problem.
“One out of every 10 married persons, will require some form of help and of that accruing number in the population, about one to two per cent might not get help through the conventional method of conception.
“So they need In Vitro Fertilisation, which is the process of aiding human fertilisation outside the body, using a scientific method.
“People that require In Vitro -Fertilisation or IVF are so many, but the number of doctors in practice in this area is not enough.
“More hands are needed and you know it is a process, and to get the qualifications to practise takes a lot of time, money, and energy,” he said.
Kalu added that brain drain was a big problem affecting every aspect of medical practice in Nigeria because the best of the bests were leaving.
“Unfortunately the government does not appear to understand how serious the situation is.
“The situation is so serious and dire that very soon if nothing is done to reverse this trend, you will have pharmacists taking care of many sicknesses and taking the place of doctors,” he said.
Kalu, however, said the situation could be improved by the government encouraging packages and facilities in the health sector to keep doctors back home.
According to him, some doctors who do fertility and reproductive health treatments are not qualified to be certified by the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health of Nigeria.
Kalu, however, said that the AFRH, led by Dr. Ibrahim Wada, was working to check quackery in the sector with its regulatory bill that had passed second reading at the National Assembly.