Infertility is a major yet overlooked health and social care issue, affecting an estimated 48.5 million couples worldwide. Rates of infertility are significantly higher in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), particularly in Africa. Despite the large burden of infertility – especially for women, who are often blamed and stigmatised – policy attention and fertility care provision remain limited in these settings. Our research in The Gambia illustrates the need and timely opportunity to include infertility in health agendas.
The network includes researchers in global health, clinical/biomedical sciences, nursing/midwifery and social sciences, representatives of Government and non-governmental organisations across 14 partner countries, including 6 countries in Africa. It will enable co-production of research priorities, funding bids and projects, and research capacity-strengthening in this important yet neglected area of global reproductive health among Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in the core partner countries of Belgium, Ghana, The Gambia, UK and Zimbabwe and in other participating LMICs.
This project aims to establish a White Rose-led multidisciplinary network on infertility in LMICs to prepare/submit a joint bid to the NIHR Global Health Research Group (GHRG) call expected in mid-May 2022 and to other UK/EU/international funding opportunities including Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and Africa Research Excellence Fund (AREF).
- Develop a White Rose-led multidisciplinary network on infertility in LMICs;
- Co-produce priority research questions with high policy relevance for improved fertility care policy and practice according to local gaps/needs and interests, and jointly develop an intervention research proposal for submission to the NIHR GHRG and other calls;
- Enhance technical and professional skills among ECRs in the UK and LMICs through systematic reviewing (including training) and research prioritisation that will provide data to underpin future proposals, paper and grant writing, working across disciplinary boundaries and internationalisation;
- Ensure financial viability and sustainability via external grant income.
Lead Academics at Lead Institution:
Dr Julie Balen (School of Health and Related Research, ScHARR, University of Sheffield)
Linda McGowan, School of Healthcare
Susan Dierickx, Research Centre Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (ECR collaborator)
Sainey Ceesay, Founding Director, Safe Haven, Banjul
Mustapha Bittaye, Director of Health Services, Gambian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Banjul
Haddijatou Allen, Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia (ECR collaborator)
Rosemond Akpene Hiadzi, Lecturer in Medical Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Ghana
Mugove Madziyire, Lecturer and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Zimbabwe