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Infertility For African Women Is a Huge Challenge – First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo


First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has bemoaned the challenges women go through as far as infertility stigma is concerned.

She believes creating awareness and “the kind of cultural shifts that supports women and society with the necessary resources to fight infertility stigma and provide treatments or coping options for couples” will go a long way to help.

Infertility especially for African women is a huge challenge. Growing up I saw how stigma and lack of support traumatized women labelled as infertile, to me this was gross injustice . . . and so for me, this programme was timely and essential. I fully believe in empowering women in general but I also firmly believe in creating the kind of cultural shifts that supports women and society with the necessary resources to fight infertility stigma and provide treatments or coping options for couples,” she stated.
According to her, “the support provided by the Merck Foundation in fighting infertility and other medical conditions in Ghana has been immense. In all, Ghana has been fortunate to receive specialist training for more than 110 public sector healthcare providers” and this has contributed to the quality and equitable healthcare solutions in the country.

Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo was part of African First Ladies who converged to mark the 9th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary and the 5th anniversary of Merck Foundation.

It was an avenue for the First Ladies to share strategies and the impact of partnership programmes in building healthcare capacity as well as their role in breaking infertility Stigma and supporting Girl Education

The theme for this year’s Luminary is “together we make a difference”


Ghana’s First Lady further spoke about her country’s progress as far as Girl child education is concerned.

“Education especially girl education is one of the most important pillars of development. I’m therefore pleased that Merck foundation and my office are working to inspire and encourage girl child education under the Educating Linda programme”.

So far “20 high-performing but underprivileged girls have received scholarships while 3000 sets of school supplies have been distributed”.

“Additionally, we have launched three children’s books in Ghana and we are working on 5 new storybooks to be launched later this year to end child marriage, support girl-child education, stop gender-based violence and raise awareness about diabetes,” she added.

Meanwhile, she has assured Merck Foundation of being “fully committed to working with you to make a difference in Ghana”.

CEO of Merck Foundation

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation on her part, spoke about the 5th anniversary saying “we’ve achieved a lot and made a lot of impact”.

She said so far over 1000 scholarships have been provided to doctors in 50 countries and they are already contributing to various levels of health care in their countries. Their area of specialties include: Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, Mental Health, Orthopedic Trauma, Paediatric, Emergency Medicine, Dermatology, Neonatal Medicine, Pain Management, Psychiatry, Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Ophthalmology, Urology, Trauma and orthopedics.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp’s take

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees adding his voice to the discussion said the coronavirus pandemic brought to light the importance of developing healthcare and healthcare facilities.

“Let’s join hands and continue working together…together we’ve achieved huge success and we will continue to achieve more. Good healthcare can transform the lives of families across the world because healthcare is a major driver of economic growth. Together we can make a difference” he added.

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