Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany organized their first “Merck Foundation Health Media Training” on 03rd October 2019 in Maseru, Lesotho in partnership with H.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of the Kingdom of Lesotho and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother together with Ministry of Communication, Science & Technology to break the stigma around infertility in Lesotho and rest of Africa.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “Based on my meeting with the First Lady of Lesotho, H.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of Lesotho, we are very happy to underscore our long-term commitment to build healthcare capacity in the country. We are also very proud to appoint H.E. First Lady of Lesotho as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother campaign to raise awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and define interventions to break infertility stigma. Moreover, we will be happy to provide training to doctors from Lesotho in the fields of Fertility, Diabetes and Cancer Care.”
“Merck Foundation will work closely with the office of the First Lady of Lesotho and her Foundation - Maesaiah Thabane Trust Fund, to introduce innovative ideas that will engage different sectors to create a culture shift with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and make a great impact in a short time. We plan to conclude the execution of our programs in our meeting with Her Excellency in Accra Ghana, during Merck Foundation’s annual conference, Merck Africa Asia Luminary 2019. However, to start with, we are conducing, the first health media training in Lesotho to educate media on how to break the stigma of infertility through their valuable work.” Added Dr. Rasha Kelej.
The training program is a part of ‘Merck More than a Mother’ community awareness Program and was organized for the first time in Lesotho for local media representatives and media students.
H.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of Lesotho and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “We are happy to host this training program together with Merck Foundation. Media has the power to bring about a culture shift in our society”.
The training was addressed by the First Lady of Lesotho, stalwarts of media industry, including international faculty and infertility experts.
Moreover, it provided a great opportunity for the journalists to meet the experts and also to network with each other and work as a unit to eradicate the stigma around infertility in Lesotho and rest of Africa. It was attended by journalists working for Print, TV, Radio and Online media and journalism students.
“The Merck Health Media Training program focused on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility in Africa. It was designed to benefit the journalists in understanding the infertility issues in African communities and to learn the best media practices to cover such issues” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Merck Foundation also announced Call for Application for “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ for Lesotho and rest of Africa. The “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ were launched in 2017 with the aim to emphasize the role of media in enhancing the public engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change its social perception in African communities.
Who can apply? Journalists from print, online, radio and multimedia platforms from Lesotho and rest of Africa.
Last date of submission: Entries can be submitted till 31st December 2019
How to apply? Entries can be submitted via email to
Categories and prize money for winners:
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 and effective fertility care. 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 on 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 More Than a Mother” are:
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, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda.
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 CAPAIGN, such as;
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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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