Merck Foundation marks World Embryologists Day through their ‘More Than a Mother’ Campaign to build fertility care capacity in Africa and Asia

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Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother 

  • Merck Foundation provides long term hands-on Embryology training to develop local Embryologists across Africa and Asia. 
  • Merck Foundation makes history by training the first African Embryologists and Fertility Experts in many countries such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone and Liberia. 

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks ‘World Embryologists Day 2020’ through providing long term hands-on embryology training to develop local Embryologists to improve access to quality and cost-effective fertility care in Africa and Asia, this is as part of Merck More than a Mother campaign.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, President of Merck More than a Mother and One of 100 Most Influential Africans (2019) emphasized, “I strongly believe in the critical role of Embryologists to empower infertile women through improving their access to information, change of mindset and quality & equitable fertility care.

I am very proud that as part of ‘Merck More Than A Mother’ campaign in partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Academia and Fertility Societies, we were able to provide hands on long term embryology training  to develop more than 82 local Embryologists from 27 countries, many of them were trained to be the first local embryologists in many countries where they never had local embryologists or fertility specialists before such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Niger, Chad, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Liberia. Together with you, Merck Foundation Alumni and our partners, we are making history and reshaping the landscape of fertility care”.

African First Ladies of 18 Countries are working closely with Merck Foundation as Ambassadors of Merck more than a Mother including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Namibia, Mozambique, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, The Gambia, DR Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, CAR, Botswana and Burundi (former First Lady) and Malawi (Former First Lady). “The African First Ladies have partnered with Merck Foundation to lead and execute many initiatives in their respective countries as Merck More Than a Mother Ambassadors to empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility. This speaks volume about the work we are doing” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation has trained more than 82 Embryologists in addition to over 100 Fertility Specialists from 35 countries which are: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D'IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.
Merck hands-on Embryology and Fertility specialists Training program is an ongoing initiative and Merck Foundation will continue to train more doctors and embryologist in more African, Asian and developing countries.

Meet Merck Foundation Alumni

About Merck Fertility & Embryology Training Program

Merck Fertility specialists & Embryology Training Program was launched in 2016 as part of Merck More Than a Mother in partnership with African First Ladies and ministries of health. Under this program, Merck Foundation has been providing hands-on practical training to candidates from Africa and Asia, in partnership with many training institutes such as; the Indonesian Reproductive Science Institute (IRSI), Indonesia; International Institute for Training and Research in Reproductive Health (IIRRH), India; Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), India and Indira IVF Hospitals, India.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign

“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & 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 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. 

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 More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;

  • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Film Awards
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country

Watch Testimony Videos of Merck Foundation Alumni

  
Merck Foundation Alumni - Meet the future Embryologists of Africa & Asia

 


Merck More Than a Mother-Embryology Training in India to Improve Access to Fertility Care in Africa
 

Merck Foundation-Embryology Training Prog in India- Platform For Standalone Embryologists in Africa
 

Merck Foundation trained Embryologist, Ms. Meko Kenkpen from Liberia
 

Merck Foundation Fertility & Embryology Training Program Alumni Testimonials from Liberia 
 

Merck Foundation Alumni, Mr. GASSIM CHOUEB, trained embryologist from Chad

 


Merck Foundation trained Embryologist, Mr. Philip Baysah from Liberia.

 

Merck Foundation Alumni, Ms. Dawing Tingola, trained Embroyologist from Chad

 
Merck Foundation Future Embryologist of Ghana, Mali, Senegal Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo Myanmar.
 

Merck Foundation Future Fertility Specialist from Namibia, Rwanda, The Gambia, Zambia, Guinea
 

Merck Foundation Alumni - Local Fertility Specialists
 

Merck Foundation Making History in Rwanda by supporting first IVF center
 

Merck Foundation Alumni, Dr. Patience Monica Martor trained Embryologist from Liberia

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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 FoundationFacebookTwitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.