Lilongwe [Malawi]/Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], August 1 (ANI/BusinessWire India): Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks 'World ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Day 2022' together with African First Ladies through their "More Than a Mother" Campaign by building and advancing fertility care capacity in Africa and Asia.
Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, Most Influential African (2019, 2020 and 2021) emphasized, "Happy World ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Day 2022. I strongly believe in the critical role of Embryologists and fertility specialists to empower infertile women through improving their access to information, change of mindset and quality and equitable fertility care across Africa and Asia.
I am very proud that as part of 'Merck Foundation More Than A Mother' campaign in partnership with African First Ladies who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation "More Than a Mother" Campaign, Ministries of Health, Academia and Fertility Societies, we provided more than 400 scholarships to young doctors from 38 countries to be the local fertility experts in their respective countries. Many of them were trained to be the first local fertility experts in their countries where they never had even a single local embryologist or fertility specialist before such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Malawi, and more.
Together with Merck Foundation Alumni, and our partners, we are making history and reshaping the landscape of fertility care across Africa and beyond."
Merck Foundation 'More Than a Mother' is a strong movement that aims to empower women living with Infertility through access to information, education, change of mindset, and economic empowerment. This powerful campaign supports in defining policies and interventions to build quality and equitable Reproductive and Fertility Care Capacity, Break Infertility Stigma and Raise Awareness about Infertility Prevention and Male Infertility.
"Out of the total 400, over 180 scholarships have been provided for clinical and practical training for Fertility Specialists and Embryologists, and over 215 scholarships have been provided for one-year Diploma and two-year Master Degree in Sexual and Reproductive Medicine and Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction an Embryology," explained Dr Rasha Kelej.
Moreover, Merck Foundation has trained more than 2200 media representatives from more than 30 countries to raise community awareness and break the stigma around infertility and infertile and childless women.
Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through their "Empowering Berna" initiative under their "More Than a Mother" movement. This initiative helps women who cannot be treated for infertility anymore by helping them to get trained to establish small businesses so that they can be independent and rebuild their lives. Through 'Empowering Berna', the lives of many infertile women have been transformed in many African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Niger, Malawi, and many more.
Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies has also launched David's Story, a children's storybook to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from a young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and the resulted domestic violence in the future. The storybooks have been localized for each country to have a better connect with the young readers. Read David's Story here: https://merck-foundation.com/merckfoundation/public/uploads/digital_library/1623068222_8c2d31133aeda35530d4.pdf
Merck Foundation has also released more than 25 songs, many of these songs have been created with the aim to break the infertility stigma, as a part of their "More Than a Mother" campaign. Listen to some of the songs here:
1. Watch, share and subscribe to the 'Plus qu'une MERE' composed and sung by Lucky-Lou, the daughter of The President and The First Lady of Burundi: https://youtu.be/EEUjxjqlHv0
2. Watch, share and subscribe to the "More Than a Mother" song by Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ6ZprqAAJs
3. Watch, share and subscribe to the "More Than a Mother" song by H.E. George Weah, the President of the Republic of Liberia created to support Merck Foundation "More Than a Mother" movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfjS3kY2YWY
Listen to all "More than a Mother" songs here:
"To address this important issue of breaking infertility stigma and also a wide range of other social issues, we annually launch Merck Foundation 'More Than a Mother' Awards in partnership with African First Ladies. I would also like to invite the African Community of Media, Fashion, Film making, and Musicians, students, and potential talents in these fields to apply for the awards this year, to create a culture shift and break the silence about one or more of the following topics: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels. I am looking forward to receiving their creative work on email@example.com," concluded Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej.
"Merck Foundation More Than a Mother" is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mindsets. This powerful campaign supports in defining policies and interventions to build quality and equitable Reproductive and Fertility Care Capacity, Break Infertility Stigma and Raise Awareness about Infertility Prevention and Male Infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education and Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for Fertility Specialists and Embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.
With "Merck Foundation More Than a Mother", we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It's all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.
The Ambassadors of "Merck Foundation More Than a Mother" are:
Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
- 'Merck Foundation More than a Mother' Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
- 'Merck Foundation More than a Mother' Fashion Awards
- 'Merck Foundation More than a Mother' Film Awards
- 'Merck Foundation More than a Mother' Song Awards
- Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
- Children storybook, localized for each country
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