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First Lady dares media on infertility stigma

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

First Lady Getrude Mutharika has challenged the local media to play a key role in breaking stigma around infertility among women in the country.

Mutharika Wednesday said disseminating information to create awareness on the issue could provide room for mindset change.

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“Information is power. The media, which provides most of that information, therefore, has power to negatively or positively influence the way people are viewed or behave. This, therefore, calls for critical engagement and cultivation of a good working relationship with the media,” she said.

Mutharika, who is Beautify Malawi Trust founder, said infertility in some cases fuels gender-based violence, mostly against women; hence, the need to roll out the process of demystifying the problem.

“Infertility is a gender issue because it wears a woman’s face in Malawi, where everybody believes that if a couple is failing to have a child then it is the woman who has the problem or is infertile. For this reason, the woman is shamed and suffers stigma,” she said.

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Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Rasha Kelej, said society must understand that even women or couples that struggle with infertility can contribute to the development of communities and the world.

“There are a lot of people that lack education. People have to understand that women are not all about conceiving. They can still be very important to society. People also have to understand that infertility affects males and females equally,” she said.

Information, Civic Education and Communication Technology Minister, Mark Botomani, said the media was a key stakeholder in addressing misconceptions about infertility in society.  

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