Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany starts its first Merck Health Media Training on 10th of July 2018 from 10:00 to 17:30 at Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi.
The training program is part of ‘Merck more than a Mother’ community awareness initiative. It is being organized to emphasize the important role that media plays to influence our society to create a cultural shift with the aim to break the stigma around infertility in general and Infertile women in particular.
During the training program, Merck Foundation will announce the start of new hashtags #MenToo and #NotoInfertilityStigma to invite media from all over Africa to share its opinions and stories on social media about the topic.
“I am very happy to initiate this important training session and the two hashtags on the social media platform, inviting all media representatives to share it on their platforms. #MenToo can be the cause of infertility #MenToo can suffer the infertility stigma and social pressure. #NoToInfertilityStigma for women and #Mentoo is the key message we wish to deliver”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck more than a Mother.
Merck Health Media Training Program is planned to follow the Merck more than a Mother Media Recognition Awards Ceremony which will be held on the 9th of July to recognize the winners from Kenya and East Africa.
Dr. Rasha Kelej further explained the reason of creating this award “We announced the ‘Merck More than a Mother Media Recognition Awards’ in 2017 with the aim to emphasize the role of media in enhancing the public engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change its social perception in African communities.”
Through the award ceremony, Merck Foundation will honor the winners of “Merck More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Award 2017, for their outstanding journalistic coverage to break the stigma around infertility in African communities. The award ceremony will be attended by eminent media personalities, fertility experts, infertile women, award winners and other distinguished media people from across Africa.
“The Merck Health training program will focus on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility in Africa. It is designed to benefit the journalists in understanding the infertility issues in African communities and to learn the best media practices to cover such issues. We look forward to scaling this program to Francophone African countries and Asian counties in 2018” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.
Merck Foundation will bring media from more than 15 African countries to come together to break the infertility stigma in the continent. The training would also provide an excellent opportunity for the journalists from Africa to network with each other and work as a unit to eradicate the stigma around infertility.
Merck Foundation appreciates the outstanding health journalism and seeks the support of Health Media across Africa to achieve the objective of creating a culture shift and breaking stigma around infertility and infertile women.
The journalists from various African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Gambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Botswana, Liberia, Cameroon, and Sierra Leona will be participating in the training.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign; In many Cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. “Merck More Than a Mother” empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.
As part of this Campaign, we started “Empowering Berna” project in Africa to help childless and infertile women starting their own business and thus achieve financial independence and become stronger and happier. The project has benefited more than 1,000 women across the continent.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and Asia.
Merck Foundation provided for more than 50 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Siri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.
Merck Foundation plan supported the establishment of the first public IVF centers in Ethiopia and Uganda through providing the clinical and practical training necessary for their staff. Merck Foundation also plans to support the establishment of the first public IVF in Tanzania soon.
“Merck more than a Mother” launched in 2015, is a program of the Merck Foundation, the foundation drives many of our initiatives and programs in the area of build health care and research capacity and improves access to equitable healthcare solutions.