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Merck foundation partner with Africa Reproductive Care Society (ARCS) to build fertility care capacity and advocacy in Africa

May 4, 2021

Merck Foundation announced this partnership during their 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary during the Fertility and Reproductive care session
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President of Merck More Than a Mother with Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Reproductive Care Society & President of the Nigerian Academy of Medicine Specialties

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KgaA, announced their partnership with Africa Reproductive Care society (ARCS) based in Lagos, Nigeria to build fertility and reproductive tube care capacity, build advocacy to break the stigma of infertility, and raise awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility in Africa as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother campaign.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “We are very happy to partner with an important and inclusive Society like Africa Reproductive Care Society with the aim not to only provide scientific and clinics training to African Doctors and Embryologists but to also build advocacy to break the stigma of infertility and raise awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. We at Merck Foundation partnered with 20 African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education, Communication and Genders, Academia, Media & Art communities to achieve our goals to transform the landscape of fertility care in Africa, and we have achieved very important milestones. I believe with our new partnership with ARCS we will continue our efforts and address different aspects of this topic”.

Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Reproductive Care Society (ARCS) emphasized, “I am very happy to partner with Merck Foundation. Merck Foundation has been creating awareness and building fertility care capacity in Africa. It is very critical to create awareness around infertility prevention and management as around 85% of infertility cases in Africa are caused by untreated infectious diseases, hence are preventable in many cases. I also thank Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej for her energy, inspiration, and innovations. Together will do well for Africa”.

“I invite all fertility care experts & embryologists, media experts, fashion designers who are our Merck Foundation Alumni to join this society. Also, I invite policymakers, community leaders and members, singers and filmmakers to apply for the membership which is free and inclusive for all Africa”, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck Foundation announced this partnership during their 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary on 29th April 2021 during the Fertility and Reproductive care session, where they provided scientific and medical training for more than 400 doctors from Africa and Asia. And, discussed challenges, strategies, and solutions to improve access to quality, equitable and regulated fertility care in Africa and Asia.

This partnership is part of the Merck Foundation More than a Mother initiative.

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck  Foundation 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 Foundation 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. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of BotswanaH.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina FasoH.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,

The First Lady of Burundi
H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of CongoH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
The Former First Lady of Republic of Burundi, H.E Madam DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Republic of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

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 Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;

  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck Foundation 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

About Africa Reproductive  Care Society ( ARCS):
ARCS aims to be the foremost contributor and the partner of choice in advancing the ART care solutions and advocating for improving access to regulated and equitable fertility care solutions and breaking the stigma around infertility in Africa with special focus on Sub- Saharan Africa.

ARCS will work closely with its members and partners to further its aim and objectives through supporting and facilitating programs of education, training, communication of knowledge, exchange of experience, and networking.

Membership is open to individuals from several interest groups who are engaged in practicing, developing and building capacity of the Reproductive Health care, science, ethics and management. It is also open for individuals who are involved in advocacy building and raising awareness with the aim to break the stigma of infertility, empowering infertile women and improve access to equitable, safe and effective fertility care solutions in Africa.

Members include; Medical doctors, Embryologists, Scientists, Psychologists, Social workers, Fertility Nurses and Counselors, Fertility advocates, and Health Media Representatives as well as affiliated nonprofit stakeholders who are involved in ART field.

ARCS Membership application is subject to the ARCS  Executive Board approval and is free of charge.

ARCS will not raise or receive funds from any organization or individuals.

Members will be able to apply for training programs that will be subject to ARSC Scientific and Educational committee screening and proceeding with affiliated training institutions with the purpose of recommendation.

*SOURCE Merck Foundation

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One response to “Merck foundation partner with Africa Reproductive Care Society (ARCS) to build fertility care capacity and advocacy in Africa”

  1. This is very welcome. Merck has been at the forefront of improving healthcare in Africa and around the world. This is very exemplary. Congratulations and kudos to all that made this possible.

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