As part of efforts to reduce the burden of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) and infertility among women, the Endometriosis Support Group in Nigeria (ESGN) and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), have signed a memorandum of understanding to address the health conditions.
Sharing his thoughts at the signing in Lagos recently, Founder, ESGN, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, said the two institutions were collaborating to undergo a study among 30,000 school girls across the six geographical regions of the country on the prevalence of dysmenorrhea, menstrual hygiene and infertility.
He said for interventions to be made on preventing infertility and other reproductive health issues experienced by women, and girls, there has to be a data showcasing what they go through.
According to him, “the earliest data in Nigeria on issues like these is 42 years old. So this study will be the latest. We know most of the disease that occurs later in life for women starts at the onset of menses.
“For instance, we know there is a relationship between having painful menses and having chronic pelvic pain later in life, in which endometriosis is one of them. And we know that endometriosis is an underlying factor for infertility among our women.
“So if we know how many of these girls have dysmenorrhea, we can see how many of them will develop endometriosis later in life. This will help us diagnose this condition before it affects their fertility. With early knowledge, we may be able to truncate the vicious cycle.”
He said while the national survey will not be cheap cost wise, he expressed hope that organisations and individuals will see the importance and support them.
On his part, the Director General, NIMR, Prof. Babalola Salako, said the outcome of the study may form a policy brief that will be sent to the federal government and could be passed on to schools.
“NIMR is throwing its weight into the idea because we are also concerned about the rate of infertility in Nigeria. Painful menses might hinder girls’ ability to assimilate in class. If it occurs during exams, it means they won’t do well. So this is a very important research, ” he said.
He said while NIMR will bring in its experienced researchers in that specialty onboard, it would also help in fast tracking policy advice to the federal government.