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Merck Foundation and African First Ladies Provide 400 Scholarships to Develop Embryologists and Fertility & Reproductive Specialists

Merck Foundation (https://Merck-Foundation.com/provides 400 scholarships for specialty training for Fertility, Embryology & Sexual & Reproductive Medicine to develop local Embryologists & Fertility Experts for 38 countries across Africa and Asia; Merck Foundation makes history by training the first African Embryologists and Fertility Experts in many countries such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Liberia. Moreover, supported training for the staff of First Public IVF Centers in Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Niger, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. 

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks ‘World ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Day 2022’ together with African First Ladies through their “More Than a Mother” Campaign by building and advancing fertility care capacity in Africa and Asia.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, Most Influential African (2019, 2020 & 2021) emphasized, “Happy World ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Day 2022. I strongly believe in the critical role of Embryologists and fertility specialists to empower infertile women through improving their access to information, change of mindset and quality & equitable fertility care across Africa & Asia.

I am very proud that as part of ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother’ campaign in partnership with African First Ladies who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Campaign, Ministries of Health, Academia and Fertility Societies, we provided more than 400 scholarships to young doctors from 38 countries to be the local fertility experts in their respective countries. Many of them were trained to be the first local fertility experts in their countries where they never had even a single local embryologist or fertility specialist before such as; The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Malawi, and more.

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Together with Merck Foundation Alumni, and our partners, we are making history and reshaping the landscape of fertility care across Africa and beyond”.

Merck Foundation ‘More Than a Mother’ is a strong movement that aims to empower women living with Infertility through access to information, education, change of mindset, and economic empowerment. This powerful campaign supports in defining policies and interventions to build quality and equitable Reproductive and Fertility Care Capacity, Break Infertility Stigma and Raise Awareness about Infertility Prevention and Male Infertility.

“Out of the total 400, over 180 scholarships have been provided for clinical and practical training for Fertility Specialists and Embryologists, and over 215 scholarships have been provided for one-year Diploma and two -year Master Degree in Sexual & Reproductive Medicine and Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction & Embryology”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej.  

Moreover, Merck Foundation has trained more than 2200 media representatives from more than 30 countries to raise community awareness and break the stigma around infertility and infertile and childless women.

Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through their “Empowering Berna” initiative under their “More Than a Mother” movement. This initiative helps women who cannot be treated for infertility anymore by helping them to get trained to establish small businesses so that they can be independent and rebuild their lives. Through ‘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 has also launched David’s Story, a children’s storybook to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from a young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and the resulted domestic violence in the future. The storybooks have been localized for each country to have a better connect with the young readers. Read David’s Story here: (https://bit.ly/3POAmM2)

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Merck Foundation has also released more than 25 songs, many of these songs have been created with the aim to break the infertility stigma, as a part of their “More Than a Mother” campaign. Listen to some of the songs here:

  1. Watch, share & subscribe to the ‘Plus qu’une MERE’ composed and sung by Ms. Lucky-Lou, the daughter of The President and The First Lady of Burundi: (https://bit.ly/3oB2kPU)
  2. Watch, share & subscribe to the “More Than a Mother” song by Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana: (https://bit.ly/3cL6r9l)
  3. Watch, share & subscribe to the “More Than a Mother” song by H.E. George Weah, the President of the Republic of Liberia created to support Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” movement: (https://bit.ly/3vi573W)

Listen to all “More than a Mother” songs here: (https://bit.ly/3PUxM7a)“To address this important issue of breaking infertility stigma and also a wide range of other social issues, we annually launch Merck Foundation ‘More Than a Mother’ Awards in partnership with African First Ladies. I would also like to invite the African Community of Media, Fashion, Film making, and Musicians, students, and potential talents in these fields to apply for the awards this year, to create a culture shift and break the silence about one or more of the following topics: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels. I am looking forward to receiving their creative work on submit@merck-foundation.com”, concluded Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej...

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