Merck Foundation’s “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program’s Tenth Episode focusses on Breaking Infertility Stigma

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation during the shoot of Episode 10 of Our Africa TV Program
  • “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program is being broadcast on four Prime TV Channels across Africa – KTN, Kenya; NTV, Uganda; GH One TV, Ghana and LNTV, Liberia

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany released the Tenth Episode of their TV program – “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” at 2 pm on Sunday, 17th July 2022 on GH One TV, Ghana, repeated on Monday on 18th July at 1:30 pm. The rest of the 15 episodes will be aired on GH One TV Ghana every Sunday at 2 pm and repeated every Monday at 1:30 pm.

The TV program is also being broadcasted on KTN, Kenya and NTV, Uganda, LNTV, Liberia, and also posted on all social media channels of Merck Foundation and of KTN, NTV, GH One TV and LNTV.

The Tenth episode of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program addresses the sensitive issue of “Breaking Infertility Stigma”. The previous episodes of TV program have addressed issues such as – Importance of early detection & prevention of Diabetes, Supporting Girl Education, promoting a Healthy Lifestyle, Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Coronavirus Health Awareness, Sustainability & up-cycled fashion and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The TV program has been receiving great feedback from viewers across the four countries and social media followers across Africa and beyond.

Watch the Tenth Episode promo here:

Watch Episode 10 No To Infertility Stigma 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 experts 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 and President of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” campaign expressed, “I would like to thank our viewers and social media followers for the outstanding response and feedback we have been getting for ‘Our Africa’ TV program. I am deeply touched by the messages we are getting on our Social Media platforms appreciating the TV Program. The Tenth Episode of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is particularly close to my heart as we discuss the topic of Breaking the Infertility Stigma among men and women in Africa”.

“Through ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ our aim is to raise awareness in our communities through Fashion and Art, as I strongly believe that Fashion can be a critical partner to create a culture shift, to be the voice of the voiceless, and to break the silence about many issues such as Diabetes Awareness, Breaking Infertility Stigma, Ending Child Marriage, stopping FGM, stopping GBV, Supporting Girl Education and women empowerment, among other social and health issues affecting the continent”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha.

“Our African by Merck Foundation” TV Program is broadcasting on the following TV channels:

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

– Every Saturday @ 6 pm (GMT) on LNTV, Liberia; re-run on Sunday @ 4:30 pm (GMT)

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

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

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

The Tenth episode of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” saw Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej showcasing designs from her colorful collection of casual wear for men and women displaying relevant messages to Breaking Infertility Stigma. This episode also featured Fashion Designers from Ghana – Augustina Annan and Kezia Ansah-Mensal. These two designers have been winners of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards 2019, they showcased their creations displaying strong messages on awareness and prevention about infertility, male infertility, and also about Fertility being a shared responsibility.

This episode also featured Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” campaign’s Superwoman Song by artists Cwesi Oteng and Adina from Ghana.

Watch and listen to this song here:

The episode also sheds light on some serious data that 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. These infections can be prevented; hence awareness is very critical.

Merck Foundation’s iconic “More Than a Mother” campaign started and led by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej is a rallying movement to Break Infertility Stigma faced by women across the African continent. Not only that Merck Foundation works to break the Infertility Stigma around women but also men, women are more than mothers, and men are more than fathers.

“Under our ‘More Than a Mother’ campaign, we have provided 405 scholarships to young doctors, with the aim to advance women’s health by building Reproductive & Sexual care and Fertility Care Capacity in more than 38 countries. Many of the doctors are first-ever fertility care experts in their countries. We are proud to be making history here.

Moreover, we have 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. Media enters every home, and we consider it to be a critical partner for creating a culture shift.” explained Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

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.

Read David’s Story here:
English | French | Portuguese

Merck Foundation has also released more than 30 songs, many of these songs have been 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 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.

Call for Applications

“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.

Watch Episode 1- Diabetes Awareness  here:

Watch Episode 2 – Ending Child Marriage and Supporting Girl Education here:

Watch Episode 3 – Breaking Infertility Stigma here:

Watch Episode 4 – Promoting Healthy Lifestyle here:

Watch Episode 5 – Breaking Infertility Stigma here:

Watch Episode 6 Stop FGM here:

Watch Episode 7 Coronavirus health Awareness here:

Watch Episode 8 Sustainability is a shared responsibility here:

Watch Episode 9 Stop GBV here:

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign

“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. 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:

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 country

Behind the scenes of Episode 10

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