Merck Foundation together with Chad First Lady release a children story as part of “More Than a Father”


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Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother with H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother.

  • Through this story, Merck More Than a Father Campaign highlights the fact the infertility affects both men and women equally.
  • “Merck More Than a Father” started in 2018 by raising awareness about male infertility prevention and management and breaking the stigma round infertile couples.
  • Merck More Than a Mother started in 2015 with the aim to empower childless women though access to information, health and change of mindset

Dr. Rasha Kelej, with H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, the FL of Chad and  Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with The First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, the ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother released an inspiring children storybook The "Story of Amadou” as part of "More Than a Father" campaign  for community to understand that men can also be the cause of infertility and fertility is a shared responsibility and not a stigma. It also encourages boys to have the love and respect for women since early ages.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “It is very critical for us to launch Merck Foundation’s children storybook to bring the focus on this sensitive topic. This story considers the official start of our “More Than a Father” campaign started in 2018 which considers the natural evolution of our successful campaign “Merck More Than a Mother”. Only women have been blamed for infertility. It is time for the community to understand that men too can be cause of infertility and that we must empower them too to overcome the pressure of society and encourage them to love, respect and support their wives during the journey of building happy family since early ages.

H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I have been associated with Merck Foundation since a long time and very happy with the work they are doing in the country for infertile women and to build healthcare capacity. Childless women still suffer from discrimination and ostracism, although men too can be infertile. Therefore, I believe that this story will give an important message to the community, specially youth that - Women are not just mothers and Men are not just Fathers, they are much more than that”.

“We are making history with Merck Foundation, we are training the first cancer care team and first fertility specialists in Chad, this is a great milestone”, added H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother.


“It’s important for parents and caregivers to start teaching respect and nurturing empathy from an early age. We should teach boys these qualities at their schools and through media. I believe both boys and girls need the same kind of guidance. Just like girls, young boys gradually learn how to control their behavior during their pre-school and elementary school years. This story is our way to empower our boys to develop true respect for women and know few facts about Infertility prevention and how it affects both men and women equally” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck foundation has trained first ever fertility specialists in the country by providing clinical training on fertility specialty in the past two years and will continue this program in partnership with Ministry of Health to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.

Merck Foundation has also enrolled and will continue enrolling doctors from Chad in their Oncology Fellowship Program to have the first cancer care team in Chad as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.

Merck foundation has also enrolled six doctors from Chad in the Diabetes Masterclass (French) as a part of their Diabetes Blue Points Project.

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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. 

Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: 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 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;

  • Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training
  • Merck More than a Mother fashion award
  • Merck More than a Mother film award
  • 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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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 to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.

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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.