Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany together with the First Lady of The Gambia, H.E. Madam FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, released an empowering song 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 composed by Sunita, a young female artist from The Gambia.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother with H.E. Madam FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother explained "This song is part of Merck More than a Mother Movement to discover African talent that can produce songs, music, movies and fashion to address the stigma of infertility to sensitize African communities to say ‘No for infertility stigma’ and to raise awareness about women’s role in society which beyond only being mothers. Women are not baby making machines, they are productive members in society whether they are mothers or not, moreover men equally can be the cause of infertility like women so why are they are solely been blamed for it”.
The song urges men to support their wives during the treatment journey of building a family and delivers an important message ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’.
Merck Foundation has been working at all levels to brings in a cultural shift in the African society.
Merck Foundation has also underscored their commitment to build healthcare capacity in the country by partnering with H.E. Madam FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW,The First Lady of The Gambia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother.
H.E. Madam FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother explained, “It has been a pleasure working with Merck Foundation. Their innovative programs have been very beneficial for the people of our country. The training Merck Foundation is providing to our doctors is proving to be very valuable to us. Around twenty doctors will be provided by one year and two years training to be able to have our first ever Oncologist and Oncology team, and first fertility specialists and Embryologist. We did not have before a cancer care clinic or oncologist or even fertility specialist or clinic. Now, couples will find the care they deserve, and they will have option to have the assurance they need if they chose to have children. We are making history with Merck Foundation”
Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “After our committee meeting with Her Excellency in 2017 in Egypt at Merck Africa Asia Luminary, our programs have started in partnership with The Gambia government and we have already enrolled doctor from The Gambia to our specialty training programs for Oncology Master and Fellowship Program, One Year Online Diabetes Diploma and Fertility Specialist Training. I am very proud that we have trained the first ever fertility specialist from The Gambia. Our aim is to improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the country”.
The local song is Merck Foundation’s effort to break the stigma around infertility, using art as a medium.
“I believe that art can influence the way we think and act as individuals, and as a society. Art allows us to go beyond the boundaries of what we currently know or think. It can be used as a way to challenge society’s current beliefs, generate critical thinking and bring about a positive change. Music on its own has the ability to move people, provoke emotion, and think about any lyrics”, added Dr. Kelej.
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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