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Infertility in the Gambia: frequency and health care seeking


  • Sundby, Johanne
  • Mboge, Reuben
  • Sonko, Sheriff


In order to understand the problems of undesired infertility in the Gambia, where the desire for children and fertility is very high, a population based estimate of the frequency of sub-/infertility was undertaken. A survey was used in a representative random sample of the population. The study included an assessment of health care available for infertile couples in the different types and levels of the formal and traditional health system. Primary sterility was found to be fairly uncommon (3%), and secondary infertility to be more frequent (6%). Half of the infertile couples failed to seek formal health care, and they had to reach a certain level of care in order to be properly managed. As investigations are very basic and treatment possibilities scarce, many forms of alternative care are often sought. In addressing reproductive health in developing countries, a systematic primary health care approach to infertility in rural areas with limited resources should be developed.

Suggested Citation

  • Sundby, Johanne & Mboge, Reuben & Sonko, Sheriff, 1998. "Infertility in the Gambia: frequency and health care seeking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 891-899, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:7:p:891-899

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nahar, Papreen, 2010. "Health seeking behaviour of childless women in Bangladesh: An ethnographic exploration for the special issue on: Loss in child bearing," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(10), pages 1780-1787, November.
    2. Hough, Carolyn A., 2010. "Loss in childbearing among Gambia's kanyalengs: Using a stratified reproduction framework to expand the scope of sexual and reproductive health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(10), pages 1757-1763, November.


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