Merck Foundation on GH One TV, Ghana with their TV program “Our Africa” 5th episode that focuses on Breaking Infertility Stigma

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej during Episode 5 of Our Africa Show airing on GH One TV Ghana, KTN, Kenya and NTV, Uganda.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany released the Fifth Episode of their TV program – ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ at 2 pm on Sunday, the 5th of June 2022 on GH One, Ghana, repeated at 1:30 pm on Monday; the 6th of June. The rest of the 15 episodes will be aired on GH One every Sunday 2 pm and repeated every Monday 1:30 pm.  

The Tv program is also broadcasting on KTN, Kenya and NTV, Uganda, and also posted on all social media channels of Merck Foundation and of KTN, NTV and GH One TV.

The TV program’s fifth episode is addressing a very sensitive topic to the African communities: Breaking Infertility Stigma. The past episodes of the show have addressed diabetes prevention and early detection, breaking infertility stigma, supporting girl education and the importance of promoting a Healthy Lifestyle respectively. The TV program has been receiving great reviews from viewers across the three countries and social media followers across Africa and beyond.

Watch the Fifth Episode promo here

Watch the Fifth Episode here

‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is a pan African TV program that is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation to feature African Fashion Designers, Singers, and prominent guests from various domains with the aim to raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation expressed, “I am very excited to bring to you the fifth episode of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ which aims to Break the Infertility Stigma and empower Infertile and childless women and couples.

Although male factors contribute to about 50% of the causes of infertility, women are overwhelmingly perceived as being the sole responsible for a couple’s infertility, and subsequently, the social suffering and stigma associated with infertility tends to be greater for them than their husbands. This is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. This also has been the main focus for our signature movement ‘More Than a Mother’, I am very happy that our viewers and social media followers have really liked and appreciated the episode. I received many messages saying that they were unaware that infertility can be due to the male factor too. During the episode, we addressed that almost 50% of infertility cases are due to the male factor and also that fertility is a shared responsibility as it takes a man and woman to have a child. Men should get tested together with their wives and support them during the treatment journey. Women are more than just mothers. And Men are more than just fathers. We have communicated these important messages through our Fashion and Art with Purpose community, through fashion designs, songs, films and children story books”.

Theshow is being aired on:

– Every Saturday @ 5:30 pm (EAT) on KTN, Kenya; re-runs on Wednesday @ 6:30 am (EAT)

– Every Sunday @ 6:30 pm (EAT) on NTV Uganda; re-runs on Thursday @ 4:00 pm (EAT)

– Every Sunday @ 2 pm on (GMT) GH One TV, Ghana; re-runs on Monday @ 1:30 pm (GMT)

Watch the Promo of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ here

The fifth episode of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ TV program features a video about Jackline Mwende, a victim of infertility stigma. This shows how childless women in some cultures suffer from discrimination, violence, stigma, and ostracism.  The video shows how Merck Foundation supported Jackline by providing her with house and supermarket so she can be independent and have a steady income. Merck Foundation has also supported many other childless women who suffered infertility stigma across Africa through “Empowering  Berna” program, which is part of “More than a Mother” together with their Ambassadors, African First Ladies.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej further explains, “We support women like Jackline through our ‘More Than a Mother’ campaign. Our efforts are to initiate a cultural shift to empower women living with Infertility stigma at all levels by raising awareness; supporting girl education; training local fertility specialists, embryologists, sexual and reproductive care specialists, and media representatives with the aim to transform women’s health in Africa and developing countries and imported access to information and change of mindset. We have also partnered with African First Ladies who are the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”.

The episode also sheds light on some serious data put forth by WHO – in developing countries, One in every Four couples suffers from primary or secondary infertility. Around 85% of infertility in Africa are due to untreated infections, these infections are a result of unsafe abortions, unsafe deliveries, STDs, FGM, child marriage and many other reasons.  Hence prevention is critical and this was also emphasized during the TV program.

This episode featured fashion designers David Kusi Boye-Doye from Ghana, and Claire Asiimwe from Uganda who showcased their designs that displayed strong messages on Women are More Than Mothers, Men and More Than Fathers, #NoToInfertilityStigma, #FertilityIsASharedResponsibility and infertility prevention tips; and Santa Anzo, a renowned Fashion Designer from Uganda.

The episode also featured a More Than a Mother theme song by Sunita Daffeh, a singer from The Gambia. This song communicates that women are more than a mother and men are more than fathers. Listen and watch the song here:

Merck Foundation’s iconic “More Than a Mother” campaign led by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej is a rallying movement to Break Infertility Stigma around women across the African continent.

Under the “‘More Than a Mother’ campaign, Merck Foundation has provided more than 390 scholarships to doctors from 38 countries, with the aim to advance women’s health and reproductive, sexual care and fertility care, by providing scholarships to doctors of one-year diploma and two-year master degree of Reproductive & Sexual care and Fertility And embryology training programs. Moreover, Merck Foundation has trained more than 2200 media representatives from more than 30 countries to raise community awareness, creating a culture shift and breaking 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 Merck Foundation’s “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 re-build 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 have also launched David’s Story, a children 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.

Enjoy Reading David’s Story here:
English | French | Portuguese

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

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

Watch, share & subscribe to the
“More Than a Mother” song by Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana

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

Listen to all “More than a Mother” songs here

“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, in order 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”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

“I am very excited to bring to you all the upcoming episodes of ‘OUR AFRICA by Merck Foundation’ TV program. So, stay tuned and be ready to Get informed, Get healthy, and Get entertained!”, concluded Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’

“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 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. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media, and art, 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 shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

African First Ladies and Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Campaign

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as.

  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Song Awards
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each countr

Watch Episode 1 here:

Watch Episode 2 here:

Watch Episode 3 here:

Watch Episode 4 here:

Here is the Glimpse of Behind the Scenes Episode 5

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