BY DAYO ADESULU
Men have been urged to tread softly when it comes to the issue of infertility in the family, adding that fifty per cent of the cases of infertility are caused by men.
This was the findings of Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother.
She made the disclosure in Dubai while marking the International Women’s Day through their Merck More Than a Mother campaign.
Dr Kelej said: “The women suffer discrimination, violence and are mistreatment due to their inability to bear children, though 50% of infertility cases are due to male infertility.
”Therefore, there is a huge need to create a culture shift to respect women whether they are mothers or not, encourage men to speak up about their infertility and support their wives during the treatment journey.
She decried that in many cultures in Africa, infertility is a huge stigma that women are solely blamed for it.
Speak on what Merck Foundation is doing to change this trajectory, Dr Kelej said: “We are proud to have partnered with 18 African First Ladies who have become the Ambassadors of our unique and historic campaign “Merck more than a Mother” to empower infertile women and eliminate the stigma around infertility in their countries and across Africa.
”Moreover, Merck Foundation has mobilized and worked closely with Ministries of Health, Gender, Information and Education, Media, Art, Fashion, community leaders and scientists to empower infertile and childless women and break the stigma of infertility.
”Merck Foundation has worked with local singers, film-makers, media partners and fashion designers to be able to raise awareness and break the stigma of infertility.
”Through these initiatives, Merck Foundation wishes to sensitize our communities that Women are more than Just Mothers and Men are more than Just Fathers. Also, it takes both a man and a woman to have a child.
”Merck Foundation has produced and launched more than 20 songs with famous singers from Burundi, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Gambia to raise awareness about male infertility and to Break the Stigma around Infertility in Africa.
“It is an honour for us to have the First Lady of Burundi, H. E. Dense Nkurunziza and The President of Liberia, H.E. George Weah do their own songs for our campaign.
This shows their commitment towards our campaign and speaks volume about our work to empower childless women”.