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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 231-237

An overview of the socio-cultural and psychiatric aspects of women's reproductive health in West Africa

Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.P. M.B 12003, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
O F Aina
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.P. M.B 12003, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The challenges associated with women reproductive health in West African sub region have over the years become a source of concern to relevant world bodies such as WHO, UNFPA, World Bank etc. Some of these challenges include Infertility, Family Planning and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). However, of greater concern is the scourge of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) most especially HIV/ AIDS and the unacceptably high maternal mortality in the sub region where Nigeria alone accounts for the highest percentage (10%) of the global 60,000 maternal deaths annually. Significant psychiatric complications such as anxiety and depression are associated with menstruation and menopause. However, the postpartum period is the most vulnerable with significant proportion of women developing such psychopathologies as Puerperal (maternity) blues, Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Acute Organic Brain Syndrome. Sociocultural factors, the dearth of psychiatrists in West Africa coupled with the poor or non-recognition of the psychiatric complications by the obstetric staff have not allowed enough clinical attention to be paid to these problems. It is thus advocated that improvement in the maternal and child health care component of the primary health care (PHC) services will go a long way to attenuate the psychiatric complications associated with childbirth.

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