Merck Foundation launches an empowering song “Life is Bigger” to raise awareness about male infertility and to Break the Stigma around Infertility in Africa

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  • The song has been written and sung by Tom Close, a famous singer from Rwanda 

  • Merck Foundation continues its efforts to raises awareness on infertility and tries to bring in a cultural shift through art.


MERCK Foundation presents "Life Is Bigger" official video

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany launched a song “Life is Bigger” to break the stigma around infertility in Africa and rest of the world as part of Merck more than a Mother community awareness campaign.
 
The song has been written and sung by Tom Close, a doctor and singer from Rwanda. Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother explained, “The song communicates an important message to the society that not only women but men too can be the cause of infertility. It also speaks about the stigma attached to infertility, articulates that life is bigger than having children and delivers Merck Foundation’s key message that a woman is more than a mother and men re more than just fathers.

“I had too much fun working on this beautiful song “Life is Bigger” with a promising singer and songwriter from Rwanda, who is also a doctor. The song addresses infertility stigma with the aim of raising awareness about male infertility and sensitizing the community that #MenToo can suffer infertility not only women, and call upon every husband to share the journey of infertility treatment with his wife” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.


Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation Interview for song 'Life is Bigger' with singer Tom Close.
 

Merck Foundation has been working at all levels to bring in a cultural shift in the African society and has been advocating for the women who aren’t able to bear children against the discrimination, isolation and violence.

 “Art has the capacity and influence to make the problem felt, which further stimulates emotions and leads to engagement and action. Hence we used this medium to address the issue of infertility with a special focus on male infertility to encourage men to speak up about their infertility and join the treatment journey with their wives. I personally believe that this song will add significant value to influence the culture change we are advocating” concluded Dr. Rasha Kelej.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
 
In many cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. “Merck More Than a Mother” empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.
 
As part of this Campaign, we started “Empowering Berna” project in Africa to help childless and infertile women starting their own business and thus achieve financial independence and become stronger and happier. The project has benefited more than 1,000 women across the continent.
 
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and Asia.
 
Merck Foundation provided for more than 64 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leon, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana,  DR Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia. 
 
Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.  
 
Merck Foundation plan supported the establishment of the first public IVF centers in Ethiopia and Uganda through providing the clinical and practical training necessary for their staff. Merck Foundation also plans to support the establishment of the first public IVF in Tanzania soon.
 
“Merck more than a Mother” launched in 2015, is a program of the Merck Foundation, the foundation drives many of our initiatives and programs in the area of build health care and research capacity and improves access to equitable healthcare solutions.

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About Merck Foundation

The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.  Please visit www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.

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Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.