Merck Foundation brings together 15 African First Ladies to break the stigma of Infertility

Merck foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) Summit 2019 was attended by as many as Fifteen African First Ladies to discuss the strategy to break the stigma of infertility and empower women and girls in Education.

Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic armof Merck KGaA Germany conducted Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) � Summit in on 30th -31st March and 1st of April 2019. The MFFLI Summit 2019 was attended by 15 African First Ladies.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp,Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees emphasized, Merck through its foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity. Our aim is to improve access to quality amp; equitable healthcare solutions across African continentrdquo;.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, I am very proud to partner with the African First ladies to become Merck more than a Motherrdquo; ambassadors and partner with them to build healthcare capacity , break the stigma of infertility and empower women and girls in education with special focus on STEM . During our strategy meeting, we shared experiences, discussed challenges and defined solutions to ensure continuous improvement and exchange variable aspects of different cultures in order to localize specific messages that can raise health awareness and create a culture shift to empower women and girls across Africa.rdquo;

The Summit was attended by:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI,The First Lady ofBotswana;

H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic

H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo;

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO,The First Lady ofGhana;

H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia;

H.E. CONDEacute; DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry;

H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Republic of Liberia;

H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi;

H.E. MARIAM MINT AHMAD TEKBER, The First lady of the Mauritania;

H.E. DR. ISAURA FERRAtilde;O NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique;

H.E. MADAM MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia;

H.E AIuml;SSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger;

H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone;

H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

A special training program was organized for the First Ladies' technical teams to enable them to achieve the agreed objectives and follow up on Merck Foundation's programs of building capacity in different sectors.

H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi said, Thanks to Merck Foundation for inviting me. We recently launched their programs in my country, and they are proving to be very substantial. They will be proving clinical training on fertility and oncology to our doctors. We also provided together the Health Media Training to the journalists to understand the infertility issues and to break the stigma attached to infertilityrdquo;

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic explained, I am very proud to work closely to advance healthcare sector and empower infertile women in my countryrdquo;.

H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo emphasized, I am happy to know that Merck Foundation will help train our doctors and media to raise awareness about health issues and improve patient care in my country . This will prove to be very beneficial for our citizens.rdquo;

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO,The First Lady ofGhana explained, Through Rebecca Foundation, we have been working closely with Merck Foundation to empower women and youth. Also, we have also launched together unique initiatives like media recognition, Film and Fashion Awards in our country to break stigma around infertility. I am sure that our partnership will go a long way towards benefitting the people of my country.rdquo;

H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia emphasized, Merck Foundation has provided training to first fertility specialists and first oncologists in The Gambia. We are making history together. We will continue this program in partnership with my foundation and Ministry of Health to improve access to cost effective and quality fertility and cancer care in the country.rdquo;

H.E. CONDEacute; DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry said, I am proud of our association with Merck Foundation. They supported the establishment of First IVF Centre in our country by providing expert. They also trained the first fertility specialists and specialized oncologists in Guinea. This is a great milestone. Together we will

Change the landscape of Fertility and cancer care in the country.rdquo;

H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Republic of Liberia emphasized, I am happy to partner with Merck Foundation. They will provide specialized training to our doctors in the field of Fertility, Oncology and Diabetes Management. They will also train media to break the infertility stigma and will launch initiatives to empower women and girls in education. We hope that our partnership will continue to benefit the people of our country.rdquo;

H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, the First Lady of Malawi said, I am very proud and happy to be a part of MFFLI Summit and look forward to a long term partnership with Merck Foundation. We will closely work together on all their initiatives to build healthcare capacity and train our media to sensitize our communities on sensitive issues like infertility stigma.rdquo;

H.E. DR. ISAURA FERRAtilde;O NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique emphasized, I am excited to be a part of MFFLI Summit. I welcome all the initiatives of Merck Foundation in my country.rdquo;

H.E AIuml;SSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger emphasized, I am the Ambassador of Merck more than a Motherrdquo; in my country to help raise awareness about infertility prevention, management, maleinfertilityand to break the stigmaaround infertile women to empower them, as they are not just child bearers. Merck Foundation has provided clinical training to our doctors in the field of Fertility, Oncology and Diabetes. I would like to thank them for this and hope they continue to support us.rdquo;

H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe said, I am very excited to be the ambassador of Merck more than a Mother Ambassador and welcome Merck foundation to our country. We hope that we will soon launch their programs in together so that the people of Zimbabwe can also benefit like other African Countries.rdquo;

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