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Merck Foundation calls for action to break Africa's infertility stigma at FIGO

ANI  |  Dubai [UAE] 

Foundation, the philanthropic arm of KGaA, Germany, in partnership with the (FIGO), conducted 'More Than a Mother' panel at their Regional conference 2018, in

Dr. Rasha Kelej, of stated during the panel discussion, "Through 'Merck More than a Mother', we want to bring the healthcare providers, policy makers, academia, women leaders, media, and artists together to define the interventions to break the infertility stigma around women and to build fertility care capacity in and developing countries."

She further emphasised, "is dedicated to empowering women who suffer discrimination and violence due to their inability to bring children, by creating the cultural shift to break the infertility stigma at all levels, not only in Africa, but in Asia, and everywhere it is needed."

The high-level panel discussion included Sarah Opendi, of Health, Uganda, Zuliatu Cooper, Minister of and Sanitation, Sierra Leone, Margret Mensah-Williams, of National Council of Namibia, Dr. Chitalu Chilugya, Minister of Health, Zambia, and the of Merck Foundation, Dr.

Dr. Chitalu Chilugya, Minister of of Zambia, emphasised, "Infertility is one of the major problems in Zambia, and it is not only affecting the physical health but also the mental well-being and social status, of childless women. These women often become invisible to the society, and many a time they do not want to come in open to seek help because of the social stigma associated with infertility. Together with Merck Foundation, we want to remove the stigma associated with it by creating a cultural shift and building cost-effective fertility care in "

During the panel discussion Margret Mensah-Williams, of National Council of Namibia, stressed, "Infertility is profoundly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, which is said to have an "infertility belt" wrapped around its center, the infertility rate is much higher in Particularly in infertility prevalence rates for some ethnic groups is as high as 32 percent , or one-third of all couples attempting to conceive, which is why initiatives like 'Merck More than a Mother' are significant for and we are glad to with for this initiative."

Zuliatu Cooper, of emphasised, "Merck Foundation is making history my country, they have trained the first two fertility specialists in For the first time, the infertile couple will be treated in their home land. We still need to build the first center to be able to manage complicated cases though."

Sarah Opendi, of Health, said, "The journey that Merck Foundation has started is a very special journey that has touched the lives of women who have been forgotten in the communities. It has touched not only women but also the lives of men who have been mistreating their women thinking that infertility is an issue of women, not know that 50 percent infertility is due to the malefactor. I want to thank Merck Foundation for thinking about these women.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 18:30 IST