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Source: Africa Press Organisation – English – Report:

Merck Foundation in partnership with the First Lady of Guinea launches a children story to teach children and youth family values of love and respect- The Story of Abubaker and Fataou The story will empower boys to develop true respect for women and know few facts about Infertility prevention and how it affects both men and women equally CONAKRY, Guinea, June 19, 2019/APO Group/ — Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com) , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with The First Lady of Guinea, H.E. DJENE CONDÉ together with Ministry of Education launched an inspiring children story of Abubaker and Fataou for children to strengthen family values of love and respect since young ages. The book has a special message from H.E. DJENE CONDÉ, The First Lady of Guinea and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother addressed to the young readers. Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very happy to launch together with The First Lady of Guinea Conakry, H. E. MADAM DJENE CONDE and Ministry of Education, Merck Foundation’s children story at one of the schools to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from young age. The story of Abu Baker tells a story of a husband and wife couldn’t have children but they never lost love or respect for each other, the man supported his wife during the fertility treatment journey and acknowledged that he too can be the cause of infertility and lived happily ever after” “It’s important for parents and caregivers to start teaching respect and nurturing empathy from a very young age. We should teach boys these qualities at their schools and through media. I believe both boys and girls need the same kind of guidance. Just like girls, young boys gradually learn how to control their behaviour during their pre-school and elementary school years. This story is our way to empower our boys to develop true respect for women and know few facts about Infertility prevention and how it affects both men and women equally” added Dr. Rasha Kelej. H.E. DJENE CONDÉ, The First Lady of Guinea and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “This story is part of the ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign which is very close to my heart. It is a great initiative to prepare our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect.” “Reading Abubaker’s story will teach our children to respect and value all people Regardless of being parents or not. It will also help preparing our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect. Everyone deserves respect and love, and should never ever be overlooked or, worse, abused —even if they are childless” concluded Dr. Rasha Kelej. Merck Foundation launched their programs in partnership with The First Lady of Guinea together with Ministry of Health AND Ministry of Information & Communication to build equitable healthcare capacity and break the infertility stigma in the country. Merck Foundation will also be working closely with the Office of First Lady to support the establishment of first ever public IVF centre in the country by providing technical advice and training to medical and paramedical staff. Merck Foundation will be also be providing training in the fields of Fertility, Diabetes and Cancer to Guinean doctors to build healthcare capacity in the country. To read the Abu backer story, please visit: https://bit.ly/2KryD1m Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

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About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mind-sets. This powerful initiative supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and management. In partnership with academia, ministries of health and international fertility societies, the initiative also provides medical education and training for healthcare providers and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training the skills of local experts, building advocacy in cooperation with decision makers and by supporting childless women in starting their own small business. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are: H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad; H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. CONDÉ 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 FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E AÏSSATA 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; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia.

Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course in partnership with IRSI, Indonesia, IIRRH, India and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Manipal University), India to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and developing countries. Merck Foundation provided for more than 109 candidates, in clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 30 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.

Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda. 

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother such as;

• Merck More than a Mother media recognition award and health media training 
• Merck More than a Mother fashion award 
• Merck More than a Mother film award 
• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it

About Merck Oncology Fellowship Program
The Merck Oncology Fellowship Program, a key initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program, focuses on building additional capacity through medical education and training. The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.

Merck Oncology Fellowship Program focuses on building professional cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa and Developing countries. The program provides One-year fellowship program at Tata Memorial Centre – India, One and half-years Oncology Fellowship programs at University of Malaya – Malaysia, Two years Oncology Fellowship Program at University of Nairobi – Kenya and Two years Master degree in Medical, Surgical, Pediatric and Radiation Oncology at Cairo University – Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.

Launched in 2016, over 43 candidates from more than 21 African countries have rolled in the Merck Oncology Fellowship Program. The program will continue to build cancer care capability in African countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

About Merck Foundation
The Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com) , 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. Our 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. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.   Please go to www.Merck-Foundation.com  to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.

About Merck
Merck (MerckGroup.com) 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.

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