Kampala, Uganda and Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
Merck Foundationthe philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany has released the third episode of its television program – ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ on Saturday, April 30, 2022 on KTN, Kenya and Sunday May 1st on NTV, Uganda. The third episode of the TV show tackled a sensitive subject: Breaking the stigma of infertility around women. The TV program has received great feedback from viewers of these channels and social media followers.
Watch the promo for the third episode here: https://youtu.be/9vzLW3HGshU
Watch the third episode here: https://youtu.be/BONCtUJZLHI
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation expressed, “I was particularly excited about the airing of the third episode of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ as the theme we discussed during this episode – Breaking the stigma around infertility, especially around women, which has been the main focus of our iconic ‘More Than a Mother’ campaign. He also focused on the issue of male infertility and how fertility is a shared responsibility as it takes both a man and a woman to have a child. We addressed this issue via 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 had the opportunity to thank my dear sisters, the African first ladies with whom I worked closely with Merck Foundation for this campaign, as ambassadors of the “More than a mother” from Merck Foundation.
I also want to thank our viewers for the amazing response we received, it is indeed very inspiring and encouraging. Also, I would especially like to acknowledge the love we’ve received from our social media followers, it’s phenomenal.
Merck Foundation’s signature campaign “More Than a Mother” launched and led by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej is a rallying movement to break the stigma of infertility faced by women across the African continent. Not only that, Merck Foundation strives to break the stigma of infertility around women but also men, women are more than mothers and men are more than fathers.
“The ‘More than a mother’ campaign is close to my heart. Along with all the initiatives in this campaign, Merck Foundation is also supporting building healthcare capacity in Africa, therefore, I am happy to share that Merck Foundation has provided more than 390 grants to doctors from 38 countrieswith the goal of advancing women’s health by building Reproductive and sexual care and Fertility Care Capacity in Africa and beyond. Additionally, we have trained over 2,200 media representatives from over 30 countries to raise community awareness, create culture change and break the stigma around infertility and infertile and childless women,” explained Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.
This third episode featured eminent personalities like Nontando MposoEditor-in-Chief, Glamor Magazine, South Africa and popular Singer Blaze from mozambique. fashion designers Anuja Bharti from Ghana and albert from mozambique showcased their designs that displayed strong messages about #NoToInfertilityStigma and #MenToo can be the cause of infertility.
The episode too featured a song by HE George Weah, the President of the Republic of Liberia created to support Merck Foundation’s “More Than a Mother” movement. This song is about encouraging men to support their wives on the journey of creating a happy family. Listen and watch the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfjS3kY2YWY
Merck Foundation has also empowered childless and infertile women through their “Empowering Berna” initiative under Merck Foundation’s More Than a Mother movement. This initiative helps women who can no longer be treated for infertility by helping them train to start small businesses so they can be independent and rebuild their lives. Thanks to ‘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 also launched children’s storybooks to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from an early age, which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and violence resulting household in the future. The storybooks have been localized for each country to have a better connection with young readers. David’s story, launched in partnership with African first ladies from over 20 countries, is one such intervention aimed at breaking the stigma surrounding infertile women and raising awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility. Lily David’s story here: https://merck-foundation.com/merckfoundation/public/uploads/digital_library/1623068222_8c2d31133aeda35530d4.pdf
Merck Foundation has also released many songs to raise awareness about the stigma of infertility as part of its More Than a Mother movement. Listen to some of the songs here:
- Watch, share and subscribe to the ‘More than a MOTHER’ composed and sung by Mrs. Lucky-Lou, the daughter of the President and the First Lady of Burundi:
- Watch, share and subscribe to the “More than a mother” song of Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ6ZprqAAJs
Listen to all the songs from “More than a Mother” here: https://merck-foundation.com/our-programs/Merck-Foundation-More-Than-a-Mother/Local-Songs-and-Children-Stories
“To address this important issue of breaking the stigma of infertility and also a wide range of other social issues, we launch each year Merck Foundation “More than a mother” Price in partnership with African first ladies. I would also like to invite the African Media, Fashion, Filmmaking and Music Community, students and potential talents in these fields to apply for the awards this year, in order to create a culture change and break silence on one or more of the following topics: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girls’ Education, Empowering Women, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM and/or Ending GBV in all levels. I look forward to receiving their creative work on [email protected],” added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.
‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is a pan-African television show conceptualized, produced, directed and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to feature prominent fashion designers, singers and guests from various fields with the aim of raising awareness and creating a culture change across Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda. The TV program is currently airing in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. The show will also soon be broadcast in other African countries. Here are the details of the channels the TV show airs on:
– Every Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (EAT) on KTN, Kenya
– Every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. (EAT) on NTV Uganda
– Every Sunday at 2pm on (GMT) GHOne TV, Ghana
Watch the promo of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOdXqQUdkm8
“I am very happy to present you all the next episodes of “OUR AFRICA by Merck Foundation” TV program. So stay tuned and be prepared to be informed, stay healthy and be entertained!” Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.
“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 helps governments shape policies to improve access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions aimed at breaking the stigma surrounding infertile women and raises awareness about the prevention and management of infertility and male factor infertility. In partnership with African first ladies, ministries of health, information, education and gender, academia, policy makers, international fertility societies, media and the arts, 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 change to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: by raising awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and the media, strengthening the advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and helping childless women to start their own small businesses. It’s about giving every woman the respect and help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without children.
Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve people’s health and well-being and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality and equitable health care solutions in underserved communities, building scientific research and health care capacity, and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and young people. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed via email as soon as they are available on Merck Foundation website. Please visit www.merck-foundation.com to learn more. To know more, contact our social networks: Merck Foundation; Facebook, TwitterInstagram, YouTube and Flickr.