The world continues to battle with a surge of fibroids, however, it’s not receiving the much-needed attention, education and more in other parts especially in Africa. Some health experts and practitioners have joined in the fight to raise more awareness of the issue.
Among them is Ghanaian entrepreneur and wellness activist, Nana Konamah who launched a digital Fibroids Campaign set to inform and educate the general public about Fibroids and amplify the stories of women who have suffered and overcome Fibroids.
A press release from Nana Konamah stated that Globally, black women are three to five times more likely to experience Fibroids, and in Africa, over 90% of black women are affected by this reproductive health issue. Despite its prevalence, the Fibroids epidemic is often left out of the local and global discussion on diseases affecting African women and has minimal institutional research funding. Currently, on the World Health Organization site, Fibroids is not listed as an issue affecting African women.
Nana Konamah shared that one of the main problems contributing to Fibroids going unnoticed is Period (menstrual cycle) stigma. “this means conditions that present through unhealthy periods do not get their necessary light and because we don’t talk about periods, we don’t talk about fibroids,” Nana Konamah said.
Disrupting the Silence on Fibroids to shed light on the issue, each day in July, Nana Konamah will host diverse online activities to educate the public and empower women with information on reproductive health risks. Every Tuesday in July, she will host talks on her platform with topics such as Signs & Symptoms of Fibroids, Fibroid Treatment Options, to name a few. Each Friday in July, coined #FibroidFriday, the health and wellness activist will feature health practitioners and women who have cured themselves and healed from Fibroids.
Konamah identified that in Ghana and globally, speaking about the menstrual cycle and sexual health is taboo. “I believe one solution to the problem is to eliminate period stigma, which means we have to talk about periods,” shared the wellness activist, who co-created a short documentary in 2019 with writer and travel influencer, Jessica Nabongo, about Fibroids.
Therefore, to help destigmatize periods and fibroids, Nana Konamah will host an inclusive campaign called My Fibroids Story” which calls for women to share their stories about Fibroids and speak up to normalize the topic and language around periods and reproductive health. Individuals can participate in the campaign by posting on any social media platform a recorded video, Tweet, or image sharing their story with the hashtag #MyFibroidStory. The goal is to digitally facilitate a discussion and expand insights on how Fibroids affect black women in Ghana and globally.
Nana Konamah is a multi-dimensional activist, entrepreneur, and advocate for women’s wellness and reproductive health. The My Fibroids Campaign is the start to a larger goal of achieving institutional support for further research on Fibroids, and increased access to resources and services for African women’s reproductive care. This July’s effort includes facilitating the conversation, through interviews, with women of African descent to unlock the potential of storytelling and relaying the nuanced health care experiences from black women in different regions.
Fibroids are hormone-dependent, benign tumors of the uterine smooth muscle and though can cause no symptoms but are often associated with heavy and prolonged bleeding, difficulty in conceiving and aggressive pelvic pain amongst other symptoms. In Ghana, there is a high disease burden of fibroids due to the prevalence of medical costs. There is a lack of institutional support on this matter.
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