NAIROBI– Merck Foundation, the charitable arm of Merck Germany on Monday 26 marked the International Day for the elimination of violence against women, and also marked the start of the “16 Days of Activism” that precedes Human Rights Day on December 10 each year.
Through their “Merck more than a Mother” campaign, Merck Foundation revealed their wish to empower infertile women against all sorts of discrimination, abuse and psychological & physical violence due to their inability to bear children.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck more than a Mother said it’s their role as the foundation to sensitize the communities to respect all women regardless of their status.
“Together with our partners and our ambassadors, we can create a culture shift to sensitize all communities to respect women whether they are mothers or not. Women are more than Mothers; this is what we stand for. No for violence against women and #NoForInfertilityStigma. Merck Foundation marks the International Day for elimination of domestic violence against women today and every day as part of our daily activities to empower infertile women through access to information, health, change of mindset and economic empowerment so that they can be independent and stronger,” emphasizes Dr. Rasha.
Dr. Rasha gave an example, “Watch the story of Merck Foundation CEO Visit to Jackline Mwende, the victim of infertility Stigma. She was abused and accused of being unable to bear a child. Although she was not the one with the infertility problem – it was her husband. Yet he refused to get treated and abused her. He chopped off both her hands trying to kill her. Merck Foundation empowered and helped her to start her new life, new home and a new supermarket to lead a good life. She became the “Merck more than a Mother”.
Research says, in many cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults.
So the Campaign project in Africa looks forward to helping childless and infertile women to start their own business and thus achieve financial independence and become stronger and happier. The project has benefited more than 1,000 women across the continent.
Dr. Rasha revealed that Merck Foundation provided for more than 84 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.
About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Their efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth.
Merck is a leading science, and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 53,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.