“Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV Program third episode to Break Infertility Stigma

The TV program is currently being broadcasted in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana the show will also soon be aired in other African countries
Dr. Rasha Kelej with models displaying designs on Break the Infertility Stigma Designs by Fashion with Purpose Community

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany has released the Third Episode of their TV program – ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ on Saturday, 30th April 2022 on KTN, Kenya and Sunday, 1st May on NTV, Uganda. The TV program’s third episode addressed a sensitive topic: Breaking the Infertility Stigma around women. The TV program has been receiving great feedback from viewers of these channels and social media followers.Watch the Third Episode promo here: https://bit.ly/3KRNrkNWatch the Third Episode here: https://bit.ly/3FqmFyLSenator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation expressed, “I have been particularly excited about the broadcasting of the third episode of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ as the theme we discussed during this episode – Breaking Infertility Stigma especially around women, which has been the main focus for our iconic ‘More Than a Mother’ campaign. It also focused on the issue of male infertility and how fertility is a shared responsibility as it takes a man and woman to have a child. We have addressed this issue through our Fashion and Art with Purpose community. Together we can create a culture shift that will help our communities better understand and act on different issues. Through this episode, I also got a chance to thank my dear sisters, the African First Ladies who I have worked very closely with Merck Foundation for this campaign, as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” campaign.I would also like to thank our viewers for the amazing response we have been receiving, this is indeed very inspiring and encouraging. Moreover, I would especially like to acknowledge the love we have been receiving from our social media followers, it is phenomenal.”Merck Foundation’s iconic “More Than a Mother” campaign started and led by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej is a rallying movement to Break Infertility Stigma faced by women across the African continent. Not only that, Merck Foundation works to break the Infertility Stigma around women but also men, women are more than mothers, and men are more than fathers.

“‘More Than a Mother’ campaign is very close to my heart. Along with all the initiatives under this campaign, Merck Foundation also supports building healthcare capacity in Africa, therefore, I am happy to share that Merck Foundation has provided more than 390 scholarships to doctors from 38 countries, with the aim to advance women’s health by building Reproductive & Sexual care and Fertility Care Capacity in Africa and beyond. Moreover, we have trained more than 2200 media representatives from more than 30 countries to raise community awareness, creating a culture shift and breaking the stigma around infertility and infertile and childless women” explained Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.This third episode featured prominent personalities like Nontando Mposo, Editor-in-Chief, Glamour Magazine, South Africa and popular Singer Blaze from Mozambique. Fashion designers Anuja Bharti from Ghana and Alberto from Mozambique showcased their designs that displayed strong messages on #NoToInfertilityStigma and #MenToo can be the cause of infertility.The episode also featured a song by H.E. George Weah, the President of Republic of Liberia created to support Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” movement. This song talks about encouraging men to support their wives during the journey of creating a happy family. Listen and watch the song here:  https://bit.ly/3vOaNU4Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through their “Empowering Berna” initiative under Merck Foundation’s “More Than a Mother” movement. This initiative helps women who cannot be treated for infertility anymore by helping them to get trained to establish small businesses so that they can be independent and re-build their lives. Through ‘Empowering Berna’, the lives of many infertile women have been transformed in many African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Niger, Malawi and many more.Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies have also launched children’s storybooks to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from a young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and resulted domestic violence in the future. The storybooks have been localized for each country to have a better connect with the young readers. David’s Story, launched in partnership with African First Ladies of over 20 countries, is one of these interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility. Read David’s Story here: https://bit.ly/39Bs9e9Merck Foundation has also released many songs to raise awareness about infertility stigma under their “More Than a Mother” movement. Listen to some of the songs here:

  1. Watch, share & subscribe to the ‘Plus qu’une MERE’ composed and sung by Ms. Lucky-Lou, the daughter of The President and The First Lady of Burundihttps://bit.ly/37kX4e2
  2. Watch, share & subscribe to the “More Than a Mother” song by Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghanahttps://bit.ly/3w8XHzV

Listen to all “More than a Mother” songs here: https://bit.ly/3sg80km

​​“To address this important issue of breaking infertility stigma and also a wide range of other social issues, we annually launch Merck Foundation ‘More Than a Mother’ Awards in partnership with African First Ladies. I would also like to invite the African Community of Media, Fashion, Film making, and Musicians, students and potential talents in these fields to apply for the awards this year, in order to create a culture shift and break the silence about one or more of the following topics: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels. I am looking forward to receiving their creative work on submit@merck-foundation.com”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is a pan African TV program that is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to feature Fashion Designers, Singers, and prominent guests from various domains with the aim to raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda. The TV program is currently being broadcasted in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana the show will also soon be aired in other African countries. Below are the details of the channels on which the TV show is being aired:– Every Saturday @ 5:30 pm (EAT) on KTN, Kenya– Every Sunday @ 6:30 pm (EAT) on NTV Uganda– Every Sunday @ 2 pm on (GMT) GHOne TV, GhanaWatch the Promo of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ here: https://bit.ly/3MYRgpY“I am very excited to bring to you all the upcoming episodes of ‘OUR AFRICA by Merck Foundation’ TV program. So, stay tuned and be ready to Get informed, Get healthy, and Get entertained!”, concluded Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’:“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education, and change of mindset. 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 Botswana H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E. MUTINTA HICHILEMA, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. BAZOUM HADIZA MABROUK, The First Lady of Niger
The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Guinea Conakry, H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU and The Former First Lady of Zambia, H.E. ESTHER LUNGU 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
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Song 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 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

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