Merck Foundation marks International Women’s Day through partnering with Africa’s first ladies to break the stigma of infertility

Mumbai: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks the International Women’s Day-themed #BalanceforBetter through partnering with 11 African first ladies to work together on defining interventions to break the stigma around infertile women in Africa.

“I am very proud that 11 African First Ladies have partnered with Merck Foundation and have become the Ambassadors of our unique and historic campaign “Merck more than a Mother” to empower infertile women and eliminate the stigma around infertility in their countries and across Africa.”, said Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

Merck more than a Mother Ambassadors are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana;

H.E. DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi;

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central Africa Republic;

H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad;


H.E. KEÏTA AMINATA MAÏGA, First Lady of Mali;


H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone;

H.E. FATOUMATTAH BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of Gambia

H.E. CONDE DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry

H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

In many cultures in Africa, infertility is a huge stigma and women are solely blamed for it. The women suffer discrimination, violence and are mistreatment due to their inability to bear children, although 50% of infertility cases are due to male infertility. Therefore, there is a huge need to create a culture shift to respect women whether they are mothers or not, encourage men to speak up about their infertility and support their wives during the treatment journey.

“We want to take this opportunity while we are marking International Women’s Day to remind all women that they are more than just mothers, and they are valuable members in society whether they can bring children or not. It is very sad to learn that women are still being abused and subject to violence, for their inability to bear children. This is unacceptable and must be changed, and we will work hard with all our partners to create this culture shift and emphasize to everyone that women are more than just Mothers. At Merck Foundation we do not only mark women’s day today, but we celebrate women every day, empowering women and youth is in the spirit of what we do, it is a part of Merck foundation’s DNA,” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck More than a Mother has been empowering infertile women in African countries by improving access to information, health, change of mindset and economic empowerment.

Through the partnership with the African First Ladies, Merck Foundation to partner with more sectors such as media, art with all its forms to address the issue of the stigma around infertile women and to sensitize the communities about infertility topic in term of infertility prevention and male infertility.

They will launch together Merck more than a Mother local songs, Media Recognition Award, Film Award, Fashion Award, and Art Award to encourage young talents to apply those skills to sensitize communities about this sensitive issue with the aim to empower infertile women in their countries. This story is provided by BusinessWireIndia.