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Experts inaugurate campaign ‘to de-stigmatise infertility, strengthen human capital in Africa

By Stanley Akpunonu
02 March 2017   |   3:54 am
The Merck health care has launched the Merck more than a mother campaign in Nairobi and Uganda.

Immediate Past President, International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), Prof. Joe-Leigh Simpson (left); 1st Lady of Central African Republic, Madam Briggett Touadera; 1st Lady of Uganda Republic, Madam Janet Musevini; President of African Fertility Society (AFS), Prof Oladapo Ashiru; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej; and Minister of Health, Uganda, Sarah Opendi during the ‘Merck more than a mother’ East Africa campaign to di-stigmatize infertility, and the launch of Uganda fertility Society conference in Kampala, Uganda

The Merck health care has launched the Merck more than a mother campaign in Nairobi and Uganda.

The Nairobi launch was focus on a woman whose hands were cut off by her husband because “she has not given birth to a baby in the marriage.” Even though it was the husband that is infertile. She is now expecting a baby.

Merck has given her prosthetic hands and built a house for her in her village.

The Merck “more than a mother,” is in collaboration with the African Fertility Society (AFS).

President AFS and joint pioneer of In Vitro Fertility (IVF) in Nigeria, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, in his speech at the event, said the main objective to di-stigmatise infertility, strengthen human capital in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in Africa by training more clinical embryologists and empower brutalised infertile women who have passed the child bearing age.

Through ‘Empowering Berna’ project, “Merck More than a Mother” empowers infertile women socially and economically.

“Merck More than a Mother” aims to improve access to information, education, healthcare and change of mind-set to break the stigma around infertility.

Merck (, a leading science and technology company, has continued their commitment for the second year to empower infertile women in Uganda through improving access to information, health, change of mind-set and economic empowerment.

Through ‘Empowering Berna’, Merck in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health, last week, inaugurated small businesses that been established this year to support infertile women across the country.

Also, through ‘Empowering Berna’, over 1,000 infertile women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, CAR, Ethiopia, Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives.

Ashiru told participants at the various launch that it is very important for couples to realize that infertility causes is shared 50 per cent in the male and 50 per cent in the female and not in the female alone.

He therefore advised married couples who have not been able to achieve conception within nine months of marriage to seek medical consult together as a couple instead of sending the woman alone. Furthermore he stated that the success rate is higher when they go together than alone.

As a preventive measure, Ashiru stated that there are two major causes of infertility that can be prevented. “First is infection especially from Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and recommend protect barriers, early diagnsis and treatment.