Reproductive health refers to the reproductive system of an individual and a person’s sexual, reproductive, and endocrine health.
These are the various components of reproductive health.
As you have heard, a person’s reproductive health is defined as the health of all parts of the reproductive system that helps carry and deliver a baby to a place of birth.
The process of reproduction involves the male and female reproductive systems as well as the vagina and ovaries.
The sexual part of the reproductive system is the male and female reproductive organs (penis and vagina).
The other parts are the fallopian tubes, the oviduct, uterus, ovaries, and ovulation.
Reproductive health includes these parts and others.
It does not only include the biological parts
There are other important parts such as lifestyle, food habits, mental health, relationship and personal choices, and other aspects that have an impact on health.
Below are a few important questions to ask your doctor before selecting a provider for reproductive health.
Have you undergone any other kind of test?
Before choosing to consult with a gynecologist, ask your doctor to refer you to any reputable, accredited gynecologist.
Ask for a list of their names and offices, where you can have a detailed discussion on their reproductive health services.
Who will perform the procedure? Ask if the doctor will perform the procedure by themselves or with other medical personnel.
A majority of gynecologists prefer to perform their procedures with other medical personnel.
Sometimes, only a few gynecologists perform procedures on their own.
Do you do office visits?
This is important because some medical institutions will only do office visits for women, in which they visit the doctor only once.
This can put a woman at a disadvantage since the doctor can be out of the office or out of reach to perform a procedure for a woman, especially one that requires a great amount of care.
In this case, a woman will need to come back to the office for further follow-up.
The following are questions you can ask your doctor when you are contemplating getting a procedure done.
- Do you offer single or multiple post-operative visits?
- Do you recommend only seeing a different doctor or one who is more experienced?
- Do you offer free consultations?
- Does the procedure include a lifetime contraceptive?
- Is your doctor experienced an emergency?
These are some of the basic questions that you should be asking your gynecologist before deciding to go for a reproductive health procedure.
Why we need quality reproductive health care
According to experts, the continuous increase of unwanted pregnancy among women is a worrisome development.
According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, “Nigeria’s population is growing at a rapid pace – an estimated 0.9 percent per annum, with more than 60 percent of the country’s women of reproductive age”.
A study by the International Centre for Reproductive Health, Istanbul, Turkey stated that Nigeria is among a few countries with the highest percentage of fertility rates in the world.
“The country has the highest (0.9 percent) fertility rate in the world with Africa’s total fertility rate at about 1.8 percent”, the report stated.
The study also stated that “in addition to a high population growth rate, Nigeria is also experiencing high rates of teenage pregnancy.
According to the report, Nigeria had the highest teenage pregnancy rate of anywhere in Africa, recording 55 percent, which is double the overall average of 22 percent”.
The study also pointed out that to tackle this challenge, “the country must invest more in teenage pregnancy prevention programs” and ensure that couples can learn the dos and don’ts of good sexual behaviors.
It stated that in 2016, about 58 percent of Nigerian girls (11-19 years) who were married before the age of 15, and 87 percent of pregnant girls aged 15-19 gave birth to at least one baby.
While it stated that “The trend of teenage pregnancy indicates a steep decline in the number of women who had not had any sexual intercourse by the time they got married.
The situation is worsening as 28 percent of adolescent women aged 15-19 are already mothers.
Nigeria is the second highest contributor to HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa
According to the agency, “A large number of pregnant women remain in poor health due to their inability to eat nutritious foods.
More than 70 percent of pregnant women were malnourished before pregnancy and 25 percent of pregnant women with inadequate nutritional status had pre-existing health conditions.
For pregnant women aged 15-19, about 20 percent of the women have anemia, 18 percent are anemic after pregnancy and 18 percent had jaundice, a measure of liver damage.”
According to the study, “National malaria intervention programs should be prioritized because they prevent maternally and infant deaths, they reduce the risk of HIV transmission from pregnant women to their babies, and they improve the health of children in the long term.
The Nigeria Malaria Elimination Programme is a key driver of these actions since malaria remains one of the major preventable causes of death and illness in the country.