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Here’s the best spots in Dublin from US Ambassador Claire D. Cronin

On the eve of her third St. Patrick’s Day as the United States Ambassador to Ireland, Claire D. Cronin — a lawyer, arbitrator and former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives — shared her favorite things to see and do in Dublin with The Post. The Phoenix Park The Phoenix is twice the size of Central Park and the largest public park in any capital city in Europe. I am privileged to live in the park at Deerfield, the US ambassador’s residence, which is across from the Áras an Uachtaráin, the Irish president’s residence. If you have a beautiful day, rent a bike and visit the Dublin Zoo, the Victorian kitchen garden, Farmleigh Estate and other attractions — you might even see some of the park’s famous deer! Its more than 400 fallow deer descend from a herd introduced in the 1660s. Kilmainham Gaol Every visitor to Ireland should book a tour at the Kilmainham Gaol Museum. From the 1798 rebellion to the 1916 Easter Rising and the devastation of the Irish Civil War (1922-23) — all of these events have a chapter in the story of Kilmainham Gaol. Americans may know Kilmainham from movies like “Michael Collins” and U2’s video for “A Celebration,” but Kilmainham is much more than that. It’s central to the Irish story.” Croke Park Croke Park is the temple of Gaelic games, Ireland’s national sports, which are played all over the world today. If the timing is right, catch a hurling or camogie game or a Gaelic football match. Take the Skyline Tour and see Dublin city from the very top of the stadium! ‘Listen Now Again’ Seamus Heaney Exhibition Seamus Heaney is one of the most significant poets of the 20th century. The National Library has an immersive experience that examines Heaney’s life and work. The exhibition is located at the historic Bank of Ireland building at College Green, which was the world’s first purpose-built parliament house. A walk by the sea One of the great pleasures of living in Dublin are the stunning coastal walks in easy reach of the city. Howth, a picturesque fishing village and port that I love to visit, is one of many villages that dot the coast of the Irish Sea and is only a 25-minute train ride from the city center. After your walk along the cliffs, you can stop in any of the small restaurants for a bite. A jump in the sea Full disclosure: I have never done this! However, Dubliners swear by daily sea swimming as the recipe for a long life, and there are many spots near Dublin where you can take a dip in the bracing water. James Joyce’s “Ulysses” opens at Dublin’s most famous swimming spot, the Forty Foot, in Sandycove. Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange) Ireland is chock full of Neolithic structures, but Brú na Bóinne, located less than an hour from Dublin, is one of the most beautifully preserved and includes a fantastic museum. Built approximately in 3200 BC — before the pyramids — these structures are among the most important Neolithic sites in the world and contain the largest collection of prehistoric art in western Europe. St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street Stroll around St. Stephen’s Green — one of Ireland’s oldest public parks situated in the city center — where you can enjoy Victorian-era paths and lawns or learn more about the 1916 Easter Rising from an outdoor exhibition about it. Next, head to Grafton Street, Dublin’s commercial hub where you can find innumerable shops, cafes and restaurants. There are some great little pubs on the side streets. The Book of Kells, Trinity College Dublin This is another can’t-miss Dublin attraction that I highly recommend to visitors. Trinity College Dublin holds the Book of Kells, a masterwork of Celtic art from the ninth century. While you are there, consider taking a guided tour of Trinity’s beautiful campus. National Gallery Located in the center of the city, the National Gallery of Ireland has a wonderful collection, including a recently discovered Caravaggio. Admission is free. Pub culture This recommendation goes without saying: when in Dublin, make sure to explore the renowned breweries, distilleries and iconic pubs. As for pubs, every Dubliner has a different opinion. Ask a local, or just wander in and take a seat.

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Till death do us part: Tas Lib law to oust quitters

Camera IconTasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff proposes to force MPs out of parliament if they quit their party. (Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP Till death do us part: Tas Lib law to oust quitters Luke CostinAAPMarch 17, 2024 8:32AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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‘Cant say thank you enough:’ Justin Fields post farewell message to Chicago following trade

Find the latest coverage on Justin Fields’ trade from NBC Sports Chicago here. Justin Fields issued a heartfelt goodbye message to Chicagoans on Saturday shortly after the quarterback was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bears traded Fields for a 2025 6th-round pick that goes to a 4th-round pick based on playtime, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Minutes after the trade was revealed, the quarterback posted a message on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter. He thanked the city of Chicago, the Bears’ organization and his fellow teammates. “Can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago for taking me in and embracing me,” he said, in part. “…But most of all thank you to my all my brothers that I played with. You all were the reason I attacked each day the way I did. I can’t thank you all enough for what y’all have meant to me over the last 3 years through the ups and downs. I wish each one of you nothing but success…” Fields ended the post saying he’s “ready for this next chapter!” The 25-year-old quarterback, who played three seasons in Chicago, has been rumored to be traded for most of the offseason. During his tenure in Chicago, Fields racked up 6,674 yards, 40 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 40 games. The Bears drafted him with the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL draft after trading up to acquire him out of Ohio State.

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Play lord of the manor in these Irish castles, fantasy fortresses and heir-B&Bs

If you’ve ever dreamed that you’re an aristocrat languishing in your silk stockings, enjoying the ennui in your country pile, you’ve dreamed of Ashford Castle, an 800-year-old manor in County Mayo. It sits grandly on 350 vivid green acres, overlooking Lough Corrib, which empties into Galway Bay in the west of Ireland. Its turrets date back to 1228. But it’s best known for its 19th-century pedigree, as the former estate of the Guinness family. The Dublin brewers of the famous stout bought the estate in 1852, and used it as their hunting lodge, showing up all of twice a year. The family lorded over the then 26,000 acres for decades, mostly run by tenant farmers. But as the world changed, the estate dwindled until, in 1939, it was purchased to be run as a hotel, saving it from ruin. After a few changes of hands, in 2013, South African hotel op. Red Carnation Hotels is its current steward. They sunk an estimated $100 million into the purchase and total renovation of the estate and its 83 castle rooms. What that means for you, the visiting wannabe gentry, is the chance to swan up the graveled drive where liveried staff line up at the imposing stone steps. Inside, individually decorated bedrooms (from $509) feature velvet and silk, with luxurious bathrooms and views across the manicured lawn to the lake. Signature suites (from $2,308) are decorated and named with a nod to their patronage — past guests include Sen. Ted Kennedy and Pres. Ronald Reagan. (Oh, and Pierce Brosnan was married here). As tempting as it is to retire to your spacious room, you need to get out and do the whole country squire thing, so join the resident wolfhounds on a morning stroll or have a canter on a Connemara pony. Cycle to the quaint village of Conk, and after, play golf or tennis. Fish with the resident gillie, Frank Costello, a third-generation employee of the estate. The Guinness shooting experience will challenge your sniper skills on clay targets — but the highlight of the castle is the Falconry School. That’s a lot of fresh air. Never fear, there is a spa here, as well as a relaxing pool housed in a bronze and glass conservatory. The property has six restaurants and three bars in all, but its signature meals are served in the grand George V Dining Room, named for a visit from the prince of Wales in 1905. Resplendent in royal blue velvet emblazoned with the prince’s ostrich feather crest, it’s certainly fit for a king. Here, executive Chef Philippe Farineau gives innovative twists to traditional favorites. After eating like a royal, get plenty of rest: Tomorrow will be another busy day living a country squire’s life of leisure. It’s a crenelated conundrum: so many castles, so little time. The Irish countryside is littered with gorgeous old piles, whether romantic or imposing, sitting amid the rolling hills, and many have been converted from private use into five-star hotels. To help tell the difference, we’ve deep-dived into four of the most impressive, offering a handy guide to help choose which is the right one for you. Dromoland Castle Best for: History buffs tracing their family line. Quick craic: Just 15 minutes’ drive from Shannon Airport, this 97-room property sits amid 450 acres of parkland and is decorated like a medieval movie set. A multimillion-dollar makeover five years ago gave it velvet, pattern drapery and deep soaking tubs. Grab a cocktail in the octagonal bar, the family’s onetime library, and pack your clubs, too: The 18-holer here is a championship course, designed by Ron Kirby and JB Carr. Castle cachet: Rebuilt several times, most recently in the 19th century. Lord of the manor? The ancestral home of the O’Briens, who lived here for more than nine centuries before the cash-strapped Sir Donough bolstered his coffers by offering overnighters in the 1940s. Look for portraits of the fam throughout. Cracking detail: Come here to find your inner Irishman with the resident genealogist who can follow your family tree to plot trips to ancestral villages (from $525). Waterford Castle Best for: Private island pros who love design. Quick craic: Think of this as the castle world’s answer to a boutique hotel with just 19 rooms just outside Waterford, the charming city anchoring Ireland’s southeastern tip. It sits on its own private, 300-acre island. You can explore the property via clay pigeon shooting, archery and an 18-hole golf course. Best Insta-spot? The huge log fire in the entrance hall. Castle cachet: Portions date back to the 11th century, but it’s been rebuilt several times since then. Lord of the manor? This island was originally the Fitzgerald family seat, before becoming a hotel in the 1980s. It’s now owned by a wealthy local entrepreneur, Seamus Walsh.Cracking detail: Don’t miss the chance to amble round Waterford, whose tony Georgian architecture is a legacy of its one-time boom, In the 18th century, the worldwide frenzy for its namesake crystal made locals wealthy (from $239). Ballynahinch Castle Best for: Lovelorn romantics and foodies. Quick craic: Sitting on the Wild Atlantic Way, this Connemara castle has a dramatic backdrop: the Twelve Bens mountains. It’s a region where Irish language and culture remain prominent, a chance to truly immerse yourself in Celtic life. Come hungry, as there’s a salmon fishery on the site, and the head chef here is Danni Barry, an award-hogging talent who’s widely acknowledged as one of the country’s top talents. Her cooking is served up in a lavish room with Irish masterpieces by the likes of J.B. Yeats. Castle cachet: Originally built in the 14th century by the ruling O’Flaherty clan. Lord of the manor? Famous as the onetime home of His Highness the Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, the first Indian to play test cricket. He holed up here, broken-hearted, after buying it in 1924 to indulge a passion for fly-fishing — and to be with the Irish woman he loved but was not allowed to marry. In 2015, Ireland’s richest man, Denis O’Brien, bought it. Cracking detail: Bring a copy of Seamus Heaney’s poetry to browse, and read “Ballynahinch Lake” while you’re here, one of his stand-out works (from $505). Adare Manor Best for: Top golfers. Quick craic: The 840-acre estate has seen a major infusion of investment over the last decade — an estimated $85 million, in fact. The funds upgraded the property, including the construction of a new wing. There’s a spa by La Mer, four restaurants (including a Michelin-starred Oak Room) plus an underground speakeasy-style bar. Beyond its signature golf, there’s falconry, and even the latest luxe hotel must-have, a padel court or two. Castle cachet: A mash-up of 17th- and 19th-century buildings, with a 21st-century extension. Lord of the manor? Horse racing billionaire J.P. McManus snapped it up in 2015. He’s the latest outsider to buyt it since the hard-up aristocrat, the earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl sold his ancestral home in the early 1980s. Cracking detail: The golf is so good here, the Tom Fazio-designed course (another upgrade since its reopening in 2018) will host the Ryder Cup in 2027 (from $759).

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Oversaw the building of the John Cain Arena

After returning to London, he decided to try his luck in Australia not as a 10-pound Pom but on a self-financed, 100-pound fly/sail excursion ticket to Perth via Singapore (where he was subject to a compulsory haircut under the entrance rules of premier Lee Kwan Yu). He then hitchhiked across the Nullarbor to Sydney and on to Melbourne and began his career in the entertainment industry in the finance department of JC Williamson Theatres, then as assistant manager of the Comedy Theatre and later as tour manager (treasurer) for several Michael Edgley’s shows. He then moved to Perth as house manager of the Perth Entertainment Centre, then theatre manager of His Majesty’s Theatre and manager of Perth Entertainment Centre. In 1983, he returned to Melbourne as assistant director of the Olympic Park Trust responsible for the management of its Sports and Entertainment Centre, including the Glasshouse. In 1984, he was appointed general manager of the Sydney Entertainment Centre and after two years in that role he returned to Olympic Park as director of the Olympic Park Trust where he stayed until January 1997 when he was appointed to manage Stadium Australia in Sydney in the lead up to the Olympics. He returned to Melbourne six months later as the first CEO of the Melbourne and Olympic Park Trust which brought the Olympic Park and Flinders Park sports precincts on both sides of Swan Street under the control of the one authority – a position he held until his retirement in 2005. The foundations of the extraordinary sporting and entertainment complex that exists today was laid by Gareth and his team. During his time at the helm, he oversaw the construction and completion of the John Cain Arena, the growth in the entertainment content of the Sports and Entertainment Centre and then later the development of the Rod Laver Arena as the city’s premier indoor entertainment venue. It was the beginning of the precinct’s reputation as Melbourne’s centre for live events.

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New airline offering private jet experience for insanely low prices — earning them plenty of industry critics

An airline company is offering the private jet experience at business-class prices — and it’s earning them plenty of industry enemies. JSX, a Dallas-based carrier, is exploiting a loophole in US Federal Aviation Administration regulations that would allow the company to sell single-seat tickets for scheduled charter planes for affordable prices and much quicker security checks. “I spent months without sleep, just looking at all the rules, looking for ways why it couldn’t be done,” co-founder Alex Wilcox told Bloomberg. While charter planes are not subject to the same strenuous safety and security requirements as passenger planes with more than nine seats, FAA rules prevent them from specifying flight times or cities or selling single tickets. To overcome the stringent rules, the entrepreneur created two companies that would work together: one makes flight schedules and sells tickets while the second flies the plane on specified routes at set times and dates. The loophole also allows JSX to sell tickets at a much lower price point than private jet competitors. “Every single person we talked to said, ‘No, you can’t do it,” Wilcox recalled. “So we did it.” JSX has earned love and adoration from frequent fliers who can enjoy the luxury of skipping long Transportation Security Administration baggage-screening lines in place of bag swabs and weapon detectors. The extra free time allows travelers the chance to spend more time in the cities they’re exploring, or to attend extra meetings on a work trip, Bloomberg reported. That loophole, however, is what JSX’s competitors are targeting, claiming the company’s practices are unsafe. “If you’re going to be a scheduled carrier, whoever you are, follow the rules for a scheduled carrier,” Southwest Chief Executive Officer Bob Jordan said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We have decades of proof that accidents have significantly declined and safety has significantly improved. Just follow that standard.” Doug Parker, former American Airlines chairman and CEO, told the outlet that carriers like JSX should beef up their counter-terrorism rules and be required to meet post 9/11 standards, like scanning photo IDs, limiting liquids on board and removing shoes during screenings. “It’s a natural disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “We know terrorists have their eyes set on commercial aviation and we’re giving them a perfect opportunity.” The competitors’ complaints and JSX’s growing success may lead to federal changes that could bring down the company’s innovative business model. The FAA reviewed its rules for public charter carriers like JSX came “in light of recent high-volume operations” that “appear to be offered to the public as essentially indistinguishable from” commercial carriers. The “size, scope, frequency and complexity” of public charter operations like JSX has “grown significantly over the past 10 years,” the agency wrote in an August filing. Members of Congress and some pilots’ unions have also pushed for tightened security measures, but JSX hired a lobbyist in Washington to stand its ground. “When someone points a gun at you, you tend to hire bodyguards,” Wilcox said.

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The Splendid Olive reopens following crash by reckless driver

Three weeks ago, a reckless driver crashed into the Splendid Olive store in Oakville while allegedly intoxicated. Reckless driver crashes into Oakville grocery store and flees Originally projected to take three months, the reopening process has begun in just three weeks as a result of efficient restoration work. When the driver hit the store, there was extensive structural damage to the foundation in the basement. Store owner Natalie Kennedy says the restoration company built an enclosure to expedite repairs, fixing the structural damage and allowing for a faster reopening. Kennedy said the insurance company wanted to get them open as fast as possible. To celebrate being open again, the store hosted a “mini grand re-opening” yesterday and today where samples were handed out and customers were welcomed back in. “Today was a great Saturday,” said store owner Gail Kennedy. “We opened the doors and we welcomed in quite a number of clients, some people who came for the first time, some who were returning customers, people looking for gifts, people who were treating themselves, we did some lovely bread sampling and some mocktails and it’s been a great Saturday.” Gail and Natalie said that while they were closed, they were fortunate to have so much support from the community who continued to shop online and share words of encouragement to get them through the setback. The Splendid Olive is located at 393 Kerr Street in Oakville for in-store shopping Tuesday-Saturday. Their online store also offers free shipping to Oakville.

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An unidentified man was found dead on a street in Tamarama on Sunday

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ Breaking News Western Australia National World Technology Opinion Weather Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: NCA NewsWire An unidentified man was found dead on a street in Tamarama on Sunday Clareese PackerNCA NewsWire March 17, 2024 8:35AM Topics Originally published as An unidentified man was found dead on a street in Tamarama on Sunday Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Your Local News Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to InstagramShare to YoutubeEmail UsGet Digital Edition Perth Now Email UsNewsletter Chevron Down IconSubmit story tip Camera IconSubmit photos Get Digital EditionDigital edition Chevron Down IconBack to top

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‘Salt substitutes may lower high blood pressure, non-communicable diseases’

Lately, awareness of the risk of high sodium (salt) intake has heightened due to its ability to increase blood pressure and raise the risk for heart disease, and stroke, among other noncommunicable diseases. However, Nutritionists and cardiovascular experts say consuming potassium salt substitutes instead of dietary salt (sodium chloride) may reduce such risks. The specialists said sodium and chloride in salt can cause an expansion of the extracellular fluid volume, which over time, causes a rise in blood pressure that results in strokes, heart failure, heart attacks, and kidney disease. While calling for the replacement of sodium chloride with salty-tasting potassium chloride, experts said decreasing dietary salt intake from the current global levels of 9–12 grams per day to the recommended level of less than 5 grams per day would have a major impact on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. The professionals said that salt reduction strategies are best in the prevention of global noncommunicable diseases and can avert over a yearly 2.5 million deaths from heart attacks and strokes. According to the World Health Organisation, potassium salt substitutes are alternatives to regular salt both as an ingredient of pre-packaged foods and as salt added to food and beverages by consumers. The WHO noted that the use of potassium salt substitutes also known as low-sodium salt substitutes is increasingly being considered as a potential blood pressure-lowering strategy by national health authorities and public health organisations. “The amount of dietary salt consumed is an important determinant of blood pressure levels and of hypertension and overall cardiovascular risk. Annually, 17.5 million deaths are attributable to cardiovascular disease, which accounts for an estimated 31 per cent of deaths globally. “It is also estimated that one out of every 10 cardiovascular deaths are attributable to salt intake of more than 5g per day,” the United Nations agency added. Speaking exclusively with PUNCH Healthwise a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Olusola Malomo said dietary salt is essential to the body, but its high intake can also raise blood pressure, which can damage the body in many ways. He said high blood pressure has been linked to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other health-related problems, adding that potassium salt substitute provides a seasoning alternative for manufacturers looking for how to reduce sodium. He added, “Potassium has many important functions. It allows the nerves to respond to stimulation and muscles to contract, including those in the heart. It reduces the effect of sodium in table salt on blood pressure. “It helps to move nutrients into cells, and waste products out of cells. Salt substitutes made from potassium chloride alone look like regular salt and have a salty flavour, but have zero sodium. “However, potassium doesn’t activate the same taste cells as sodium. That’s why people complain that these substitutes often leave a bitter or metallic aftertaste. Salt substitutes contain potassium chloride, either alone or mixed with regular salt.” Malomo added that potassium salt is less processed than table salt and retains trace minerals, which add flavour and colour, insisting that sea salt is also available as fine grains or crystals and is often promoted as being healthier than table salt. On its impact on cardiovascular health, a Consultant Cardiologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Dr Akinsanya Olusegun-Joseph, said the human body needs a small quantity of salt for optimal health and development but too much of it causes the body to retain water. “This increase in fluid in the body increases blood pressure, which puts a strain on blood vessels, the heart and kidneys. With this, people with high blood pressure have an increased risk of coming down with heart disease and stroke. “It’s, therefore, safe to say that everyone should pay attention to and reduce their dietary salt intake. Potassium salt is available in Nigeria and we recommend it to some patients. A lot of people don’t know the quantity of salt they consume daily. “Too much sodium and the accompanying fluid retention in the body can be very dangerous. But potassium has a way of dilating the vessels and by doing this, the blood pressure will be reduced. The spiral resistance reduces and blood pressure comes down. “Sodium causes retention of fluid but potassium doesn’t. Potassium will reduce high blood pressure but sodium will increase it. So, potassium salt substitutes have a greater advantage when compared with sodium chloride.” Buttressing this position, a study published in the National Library of Medicine titled, ‘Potential use of salt substitutes to reduce blood pressure’,’ by Clare Farrand and her team, affirmed that higher intakes of potassium are associated with decreased blood pressure independent of sodium intake. The study also suggested that increased consumption of potassium can mitigate the negative effects of high sodium consumption on blood pressure, indicating that the sodium potassium ratio of the diet is therefore a major determinant of blood pressure. “Both sodium and chloride in salt lead to an increase in blood pressure and then cause strokes, heart failure, and heart attacks, as well as kidney disease,” the study stated. The authors recommended a reduction in sodium use in food manufacturing and processing, and to explore the use of potassium‐based sodium replacers. “Further consideration may need to be given to how best to label salt substitutes (namely potassium) in processed foods to ensure that people who may be adversely impacted are aware,” the study recommended.

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Regulating IVF clinics will curb permanent infertility – Gynaecologists

Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, and the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health have raised concerns over the proliferation of fertility clinics by unregistered practitioners. They noted that such can inflict irreversible damage on women, especially the elderly who might fall victim. Recent findings by PUNCH Healthwise showed that due to increased demand for assisted reproductive techniques by persons who desire to have children, fertility clinics are springing up in cities at an alarming rate. However, leaders of the association, in separate interviews with PUNCH Healthwise, warned that people visiting unlicensed fertility doctors stand the risk of medical complications, financial exploitation, permanent infertility, and even death. Although a report by the World Bank stated that the fertility rate in Nigeria stands at about 5.4 births per woman in 2018, indicating a high fertility rate, newer studies and reports have shown an increase in infertility rates. For instance, the World Health Organisation in 2023 stated that about 17.5 per cent of the adult population, representing one in six people, worldwide experience infertility. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also warned that globally, the infertility rate is on the rise. The CDC defined infertility as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex. Additionally, according to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2018, about 25 per cent of married women in Nigeria are experiencing primary infertility, while 16 per cent are experiencing secondary infertility. The report noted that these figures highlight the significant prevalence of infertility issues in Nigeria. However, infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intrauterine insemination or assisted reproductive technology, experts say. The CDC further stated that ART includes all fertility treatments in which either eggs or embryos are handled outside the body, with In vitro fertilization being the main type of ART. A study, “Unmet need for Assisted Reproductive Technology in Nigerian Tertiary Hospitals, by Nnagbo Johnpaul et al, shed light on an increased demand for IVF services globally and an increasing trend in the demand for such services in Nigeria. PUNCH Healthwise reports that due to this high demand, many fertility clinics and quacks have proliferated in Nigeria with bogus claims of having the ability to make women get pregnant with ease. A study by Ijeoma Ezeoma et al on the ‘Perception of Key Ethical Issues in Assisted Reproductive Technology by Providers and Clients in Nigeria’ reports that ART is a highly complex technology that requires experience and should not be done by non-experts and ill-equipped practitioners. It further noted that IVF providers practice sex selection and multiple embryo transfers leading to multiple pregnancies. As a result, SOGON and AFRH warned against unethical practices and called for government regulation and ethical guidelines for the practice. Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise, The second Vice President, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Prof Chris Aimakhu, condemned the proliferation of fertility clinics by unlicensed practitioners. He further decried the increasing exploitation of persons with infertility issues seeking a cure through ART. The don revealed that more than 50 per cent of IVF centres are not run by gynaecologists but by embryologists. He said, “Are these things being done by medical practitioners, some of them, yes but some of them, no. More than 50 per cent of IVF centres are not run by gynaecologists. The people who do the work are embryologists, who bring the egg and sperm together. However, there are not many embryologists, so they go from one hospital to the other. “Not many people who do these techniques received training for them. Some just went to India, spent one or two weeks there, got the certification, returned to the country and started doing things, and that is why there is a need for standardisation of the practice. “Lagos State SOGON, together with the AFRH has an ethical guideline for all these techniques.” Aimakhu reiterated the need for a national regulation to curb the proliferation of IVF clinics. He added, “We need a lot of regulations, we have talked about it in SOGON and AFRH and we are bringing out guidelines on many of these things. But these guidelines are for the doctors and obstetricians in particular because patients don’t get to know about the guidelines.” Aimakhu also noted that older women seeking children are mostly victims of exploitation by the quacks. He explained, “A few women who visit the quacks get pregnant. Some who are aged, carry multiple children because so many eggs were transferred. However, the problem comes when this is done for elderly women. “What do you do when you put a new engine in an old car? It may work, it may not! So a lot of people, who undergo this technique, especially in their advanced age, may not be able to carry the pregnancy to term because of old age sicknesses and other underlying illnesses that can lead to complications. Babies of pregnant older women tend to have congenital malformations and genetic problems.” On his part, the President, Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health, Professor Preye Fiebai, said women receiving assisted reproductive care from quacks stand the risk of having complications, financial exploitation and death. “Death can result from inappropriate treatment by quacks. Many complications can result from drug therapy and surgery. Fertility may be permanently compromised from such complications,” he warned. The don advised individuals who desire to have children to be proactive and preserve their fertility before the commencement of reproductive endeavours. The AFRH president counselled adolescents and young adults on the need to embrace healthy lifestyles and practices that would promote good reproductive health. He said, “Couples who are unable to conceive after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse are considered to be subfertile and should seek care from a qualified medical practitioner. “Couples who are advanced in age (Women above 35 years) need to be attended to with more urgency and would benefit from seeking care from a qualified gynaecologist. “Couples who need advanced treatment would need to visit a certified fertility specialist.” He maintained that fertility experts must first be qualified obstetricians and gynaecologists. Fiebai said the regulation of hospitals and health facilities, including fertility clinics is the responsibility of the state ministries of health but that only Lagos State has a regulation for ART practice. He pointed out that the AFRH has practice guidelines its members are expected to adhere to and still self-regulate the practice of its members. The don revealed that the West African College of Surgeons and National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria issue certificates to those who have advanced training in infertility and assisted reproductive technology. He urged couples seeking ART to check for the AFRH certification issued to AFRH-registered clinics. The fertility specialist, however, urged state governments to regulate the practice of ART and also monitor the activities of fertility clinics and professionals in their domain. “The National Assembly had proposed a bill to regulate ART in the past and it got past the second reading to a Public Hearing in 2023. It was, however, defective and will hopefully, be revised and re-presented. “AFRH was mandated to work with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to fine-tune the bill. We are currently working on it. The National Health Act of 2014 is a regulatory document on all aspects of health including fertility medicine.” Fiebai added.

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