Sunday July 21, 2019

Infertility in women could indicate higher risk of early death

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Infertile women have 10 per cent higher chance of dying prematurely than those able to conceive and are 45 per cent more likely to die from breast cancer, a large study has found.

The findings, presented at the annual congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in San Antonio, suggest that having a baby could have a rejuvenating effect on the health of a woman.

The results have prompted calls for women who struggle to conceive to be screened for certain cancers, the Telegraph reported on Monday.

While it is not known for sure what links infertility and early mortality, the stark association with breast cancer, plus a 70 per cent increased risk of death from diabetes, points strongly towards hormone-related disorders.

“Associations between infertility and medical disease have been noted in the male population, the relationship between a woman’s fertility and her overall health has not been as robustly examined,” lead researcher Natalie Stentz from University of Pennsylvania in the US was quoted as saying.

“The study highlights the fact that a history of infertility is indeed related to women’s lifelong health and opens potential opportunities for screening or preventative management for infertile women,” Stentz added.

The study followed more than 78,000 women for 13 years, 14 per cent of whom reported infertility, an inability to conceive for one year or more.

Even though the incidence of diabetes was similar in fertile and infertile women, infertile women experienced an increased risk of death from endocrine-related diseases, including diabetes and breast cancer.

Infertility was not, however, linked to increased rates of ovarian or uterine cancers.

“One of the things we do know is that having a baby at some point in a woman’s life is protective for health,” Stentz said.(IANS)

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Nigeria Spends More than $1 Billion Per Annum to Medical Tourism, Say Authorities

To provide access to high-quality care, authorities plan to build six new medical centers across the country, said Health Ministry official Nneka Orji

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To provide access to high-quality care, authorities plan to build six new medical centers across the country, said Health Ministry official Nneka Orji. Wikimedia

Nigerian authorities say the country is losing more than $1 billion annually to medical tourism as tens of thousands of Nigerians travel abroad in search of the best treatment. Nigeria’s Health Ministry says it is building several world-class health centers to address the issue, but not even the country’s president seems to trust health care in Nigeria.

Fifty-three-year-old Ibrahim Bello, a former Nigerian lawmaker from Kaduna state, lost both his parents to diabetes. He was afraid the disease might run in the family, so he went for a medical exam. Unhappy with the quality of care at home, Bello flew to India, like many of Nigeria’s well-to-do.

“Comparative analysis between Nigerian case and where I passed through in India, honestly, I cannot do it here because the margin is so wide that every Nigerian who has any health issue – his prayer is how can he be moved to India,” he said.

Bello is one of tens of thousands of Nigerians who each year opt to travel abroad for treatment. Health officials and some medical professionals argue that good care is available in the country – but at private clinics. Nadey Hakim, a transplant surgeon who has been practicing for more than three decades, is among those who argue in favor of domestic treatment.

“I don’t see why any Nigerian patient should go outside Nigeria to have a transplant when we can do it for them in Nigeria,” said Hakim. But for those who can’t afford private care, or medical tourism, there are few good options.

In April 2001, Nigeria and four other African Union countries met and pledged to target at least 15% of their annual budget for health care. Many years after, Nigeria remains far from reaching the goal and ranks at the bottom of global health surveys. To provide access to high-quality care, authorities plan to build six new medical centers across the country, said Health Ministry official Nneka Orji.

nigeria, medical tourism
Health officials and some medical professionals argue that good care is available in the country – but at private clinics. Wikimedia

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“These centers of excellence are supposed to deliver those cares, those interventions that people would naturally go outside to seek. Things like cancer treatment, brain tumors, brain surgeries, and fine surgery interventions,” Orji said. But even Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari — with access to the best health care in Nigeria — made several trips to Britain for medical care in his first term.

In April, he railed against Nigeria’s poor response to public health crises, outbreaks of deadly disease, and mass migration of doctors. But critics who disagree will be waiting to see what the president will do to change the status quo. (VOA)