Merck, a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials, today announces the start of “More than a Mother” campaign as part of Merck Fertility Capacity Advancement Program, in collaboration with University of Nairobi and Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.
The program will not only provide medical education and awareness for medical students and general practitioners but will also support governments to define policies to improve access to safe and effective fertility care, address the need for interventions to reduce stigmatization and social suffering of infertile women and raise awareness about male infertility and the necessity for a team approach to family building among couples.
Through this campaign Merck will address together with local stakeholders, the key challenges that are associated with resource-constrained settings such as prevention of infertility, education & self-development, assisted reproductive technology (ART) & in vitro fertilization (IVF) regulation, geographic barriers, reproductive rights and over-population and limited resources arguments.
During her meeting with University of Nairobi and Kenya Women Parliamentary Association to kick off the campaign, Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Merck Healthcare, emphasized “Providing access to infertility care is important, but it is even more important to intervene to decrease stigmatization and social suffering arising from this condition.”
In some cultures, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. An inability to have a child or to become pregnant can result in being greatly isolated, disinherited or assaulted. This may result in divorce or physical and psychological violence.
Prof. Koigi Kamau, University of Nairobi said “Therefore –Merck’s “More than a Mother” campaign together with University of Nairobi will challenge the perception of infertile women, their roles and worth in society, both within and beyond the medical profession in order to achieve any systemic shift in the current culture of gender discrimination in the context of fertility care.”
Hon. Joyce Lay, Taita Taveta Member of Parliament, said during the kick-off event: “Merck’s “More than a Mother” campaign will bring us together with academia, medical students, healthcare providers, policy makers and media to create a culture shift that respects women regardless if they have children or not. It will also raise awareness about male infertility and infertility as a shared responsibility between couples, their families, communities and care providers.”
“We are happy to announce the kickoff of our social media campaign together with University of Nairobi, Kenya Women of parliamentarian Association and Kenya Fertility Society and to invite you to join us in a conversation on Twitter handle: MerckAndMothers and Facebook page “Merck More Than A Mother” and YouTube Channel “Merck More Than A Mother”. We will discuss together how we can reduce the social suffering and stigmatization of infertile women and raise awareness about male infertility in Kenya and the rest of Africa” Said Rasha Kelej, Vice President and Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development at Merck Serono, biopharmaceutical business of Merck.
Merck Fertility Capacity Advancement Program, in partnership with University of Nairobi, provides accredited medical education and awareness for medical postgraduates and healthcare providers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in collaboration with EXCEMED and international fertility experts from Spain, Canada and Indonesia to improve patient access safe and effective fertility care.