Chief Executive Officer of the Merk Foundation Dr Rasha Kelej Presenting an award of appreciation to Linda Aduwa (middle) a courageous woman who came out and share her story of unable to have children, they are joined by the Chairperson of the National Council and an Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother Campaign in Namibia Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams
Story by Rafael Hangula
Preceded by a stakeholder seminar inclusive of a panel discussion with well-known Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologists in fertility cycles in Namibia, the Merck More Than a Mother campaign was launched in conjunction with the Merck Foundation and the National Council on Wednesday 16 May 2018 in the National Council Chamber.
The Merck Foundation is an organization aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology across the world. Hence the Merck More Than a Mother campaign, an initiative of the Merck Foundation is trying to empower infertile women in Africa, raise awareness of disease prevention and early detection through access to information, education, health and change of mind. It also aims to expand professional capabilities in scientific research, technology and health care; improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions; build advocacy to address health, social and economic challenges as well as empowering the youth and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
The campaign will also support the governments to introduce policies to improve access to safe and effective fertility care and address the need for interventions to reduce stigmatization and social suffering of infertile women.
The Chairperson of the National Council Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams is the Ambassador of this significant program in the Republic of Namibia.
Launching the Merck More Than a Mother campaign in Namibia, the Chief Executive Officer of the Merk Foundation Dr Rasha Kelej said the world is missing out on information about the prevention of infertility and empowerment of women. She encouraged men to speak out about infertility and share responsibilities with women and also to respect them with or without children. If relevant information is shared widely and incorporated into various cultural beliefs and setups, it will change mind-sets dramatically.
“I will really be grateful if we can start small by sharing information, indicating prevention of infertility and how infertility can affect both men and women, 85% of cases of infertility can be prevented because it’s many a times due to untreated infectious diseases,” she added.
She further called on Members of Parliament (MPs) who were in attendance and the media to advocate for infertility on various platforms and share relevant information to change negative cultural beliefs about infertility.
The Merk More Than a Mother campaign was launched at the same time with the Homeless people’s Parliament which is a National Council project aimed at giving homeless Namibians a national platform on which to discuss issues and make suggestions through a one day model parliamentary session in the National Council Chamber.