Two Plus Two Equals Four!!!

My water broke around 3:30 that Sunday afternoon. Since I’d been in ‘barely there’ labor since 9 in the morning, everything was ready and already by the door. I quickly put on the blue dress that boyfriend was ironing at the time and we rushed out...

Modern Mom Can't Cook

The food had just started boiling when I heard a knock on the door. My pocket was hurting that day; I only had 4 shillings to my name. Not one to despair, I was contented working with what I had – rice, potatoes and an onion. Without the tomatoes to at least add some color, I was prepared to have some very bland lunch. But it was ok, ...

Biggest Baby Expenses and How to Save on Them

Though the spending on the new baby is inevitable, there are steps you can take to ensure that you keep the costs at a minimum. In this post, we look at the biggest baby expenses and how to save on them ...

I am Selfish

There’s a long hoot and I’m screaming his name at the top of my lungs. In that split second, I see my life come to an end. I see myself losing my best friend barely two days after his coming home. I see him robbed of life right before my very eyes...

I'm Home at the Candy Shop

Essentials greets you as you enter. Though on the first floor, it is the first thing that draws your eyes as you walk in. There’s something about kids' stuff that just whispers to you; especially when you are a parent. Without the pressure of shopping and a baby tagging at my skirt telling me that she wants this or that, I felt like I was in a candy store. And I sort of was.

Dealing with Unwarranted Parenting Advice

Being different is ok. We are all special in one way or another. This memo, however, did not get to the perfection bullies. When your child is a little different, they’ll make it their business to tell you what you probably did wrong to end up where you are, and come up with so many solutions to your problem your head will spin.

Melina's Messy Updo

A messy updo comes in handy when I need to do a simple hairstyle in little to no time. I have found that it works best on freshly washed hair as the curls are more defined then. You do not even have to comb it. Just shampoo, condition, moisturize, oil and style :-)

Of Housegirls and Parenting

She called early Sunday morning telling me that she was in town but when I went to get her, my calls went unanswered. Thirty missed calls later, I could not reach her. Thinking that her phone must have run out of charge, I now had the hectic task of looking for her in a crowded town via footsteps the way it used to be done like 3 presidents ago ...

Goodbye Ceskycess. Hello, Modern Mom.

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I wanted to say. I therefore wrote some really pathetic posts and prayed that no one would ever read them. A few months later, a love interest did some stalking, found my blog and read the half-baked posts. To please me (I think), he praised and gushed my writing.

Everything for your Baby

BabyShop is bringing you the online shopping experience through Jumia Kenya. This is a chance to buy everything you need for your baby from the comfort of your home and have your order delivered to you wherever you are. shop

Among the products available are;
  • Feeding bottles
  • Walkers
  • Diaper Bags
  • Back packs
  • Lunch and Sandwich boxes
  • Newborn Starter Sets
  • Toys
  • Car Seats
  • Colouring Books
  • Cuddle Wraps
  • Baby Monitors
  • Body Suits
  • Playsets Among others
Visit the Baby Shop Page on Jumia for these and more baby products. 

Until we see each other again, 

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Huge Offer: Bouncy Diapers Flash Sale

It’s January and things are clearly not good. Payday looks like three months away and you have mouths to feed, fare, school fees and other bills to settle. Any coin you can save is completely worth it. That’s why as a mom, I’m letting you in on a little secret.

Jumia have a big flash sale on Bouncy Diapers tomorrow the 13th Jan, between 12 and 2PM. 40% off. We all know you need them diapers, and the discount even more! flash sale

Click the banner above or simply visit the bouncy page on Jumia, bookmark, set a reminder on your phone and feel free to thank me later.

Until we see each other again, 

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Merck More than a Mother championed by Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari says no to Infertility Stigma. This time in NIGERIA

“Merck More than a Mother” campaign launched in Nigeria championed by the country’s first lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari. The launch held in Abuja, Nigeria is in partnership with Senate Commission on Health; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and Future Assured organization.

At the Merck More than a Mother event launch in Abuja: Dr. Mohammed Kamal National Coordinator, Future Assured Foundation; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Senator Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Nigeria; Dr. Rasha Kelej (centre), Chief Social Officer, Merck; HE Dolapo Osinbajo, Wife of Vice President of Nigeria; Dr. Toyin Saraki, Wife of Senate President, Nigeria; Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda; and Prof.  Isaac Adewole, Hon. Federal Minister of Health, Nigeria

“Merck More than a Mother” continues its commitment to break stigma around infertility and empower infertile women by improving access to information, education, healthcare and change of culture and mind set to de-stigmatize infertility.

Her Excellency Mrs. Buhari pledged her support and the support of Nigerian Governors’ wives  in the implementation of “Merck More than a Mother’s” activities in Nigeria focusing on eliminating infertility Stigma and creating awareness and providing information and education on causes of infertility; facilitating access to healthcare; and economic and social empowerment of infertile women.

Helen Phillip, one of the infertility stigma victims in Nigeria, after rolling in Merck more than a Mother program

The Nigerian women leaders also supported the empowering of infertile women who form a vulnerable part of the population. Infertile women in Nigeria and many other African countries who can no longer be treated and have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through “Empowering Berna” initiative. “Empowering Berna” is part of “Merck More than a Mother” campaign.

Helen Phillip, a Nigerian woman from the North shared her story of suffering from Infertility Stigma and expressed her gratitude to the support “Merck more than a Mother” provided her through establishing new business so that she can become an independent productive member in her community.
Merck More Than a Mother - The Story of Empowering Helen Philip, Nigeria

Merck more than a Mother committed to work hard to ensure that no other woman would suffer the same way Jackeline did.

Watch Nigeria’s Infertile Women sharing their stories of social suffering of infertility stigma and their transformation after the economic and social empowerment provided by “Merck more than a Mother” through “Empowering Berna “project:
Merck More Than a Mother - The Story of Empowering Victoria John Kuba, Nigeria
Merck More Than a Mother - The Story of Empowering Kachollom. M. Sha
Merck More Than a Mother - The Story of Empowering Khadijat Yaya, Nigeria
Merck More Than A Mother - The Story of Empowering Oluchi Omenife, Nigeria
Merck More Than A Mother - The Story of Empowering Chinelo Azodo, Nigeria
Merck More Than A Mother - The Story of Empowering Ijeoma Ezeaku
Merck More Than A Mother - The Story of Empowering Nneka Omenife, Nigeria

Discussing the way forward with Merck more than a Mother in Nigeria, H.E. Wife of the vice President of Nigeria and Rasha Kelej , Chief Social officer of Merck

“In Nigeria we have been advocating for the end of harmful traditional practices including the stigmatization of women which is prevalent all over the country. Women have not been coming out openly because they are traumatized. With this campaign we will encourage them to speak out and we pledge our support and collaboration,” said Hon. Aisha Alhassan, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare

“Merck More than a Mother” campaign is a great initiative to break the stigma around infertility and to empower an unprivileged category of women in Africa, women who suffer infertility. Infertile women have been neglected, mistreated and discriminated because they cannot bear a child, yet 50% of infertility is due to male factors. We can together improve access to education, information, awareness, health care and change of mind-set and culture to stop these women’s suffering,” said Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

Two panel discussions of fertility experts and policy makers during the launch called for an end to the stigmatization of infertile women; creation of awareness and education on the causes of infertility and management since untreated STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia may be the cause of up to 85% of infertility among women seeking infertility care which can be treated and prevented; male infertility; building advocacy for the development of artificial reproductive therapy (ART) laws to improve the governance and quality of fertility care; improving access to fertility care by integrating it into public reproductive health services and building the capacity to provide quality and safe fertility care through training.

Prof. Isaac Adewole Hon. Minister of Health emphasized: “We are responsible for policy at the Ministry level and this is where we can make a difference in improving access to fertility care in Nigeria. We will work through training institutions we are responsible for to strengthen fertility management by making it a sub-specialty. We will also as a Ministry work with private sector, the Senate and the National Assembly to improve governance and quality of care to provide standards to protect infertile men and women seeking treatment.”

“Merck More than a Mother” was first implemented in Kenya in 2015 followed by Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

To read more about Merck More than a Mother, visit and

H.E. Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo , high level panelists and , wives of Governors from Nigeria together with infertile women who have benefitted from ‘Empowering Berna’ project .

About The stigma of Infertility in Africa:
Jackline Mwende  the recent victim of Infertility stigma tells us her story of suffering of terrible violence by her husband.

Until we see each other again, 

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Risks of Pregnancy After 35 That no one Talks About

Janet Jackson gave birth to her first child on January 3rd at 50. She is one of the many women starting their parenting journeys later in life. Professional careers and other personal circumstances have seen many shelf their family dreams to their 40s and 50s. There is however a number of risks associated with this trend of trying to get pregnant after 35:

Image source: Pixabay
Difficulty conceiving:

A woman is born with a limited number of eggs. From the mid 30s, the eggs decrease in quantity and quality making it difficult for her to even conceive.

Multiple pregnancy:

The chances of getting twins increases with age. The fact that one might need assisted reproductive technologies like IVF only adds to the risk.

Gestational diabetes:

Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and is more common in older women. Left untreated, it can cause an unborn child to grow significantly larger than average, increasing the risk of injury during delivery.

High Blood Pressure:

Older women are more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. Medication or  delivering the baby prematurely help avoid complications in such a situation.

Premature and low birth weight babies:

As we all know, premature babies normally have complicated medical problems.

Chromosome Abnormalities:

Babies born to older women have a higher risk of developing certain chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.

Higher risk of miscarriages and stillbirths:

The risk of pregnancy loss increases as you get older. This could be as a result of pre-existing medical conditions or fetal chromosomal abnormalities.

That said, it is important to note that you can still carry a pregnancy as an older woman. You just need to have your health care provider advice and monitor the development of your pregnancy to ensure that everything is going exactly as it should.

Until we see each other again, 

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One Painful Step at a Time

This is my first post this year. I've been on a much deserved break; everything from my body to the blog needed a reset. We are now well rejuvenated and ready to tackle 2017.

I started jogging in the morning the last few weeks of 2016. I've not been able to do it since we came back from the holidays, which is such a shame as I did have an amazing time pushing my body and zoning out. For the first time in a long time, I had moments when I thought of no one or nothing but me. Not my kids, not my hubby and not even a single responsibility.

At some point in my course I would go up a steep hill. My goal would be to jog up the hill without stopping to the very top. It was easier said than done.

Day one I ran too fast and my energy ran out way too early. Day two I tried to be steadier and slower and almost made it to the top. Day three I concentrated on my breathing, listened to my pain while putting one foot in front of the other and managed to get to the top. The birds were cheering me on, I was panting, the wind was cooling the sweat on my face and cloths and it felt really, really good. It's amazing what your body can do when you convince your mind.

In that moment I knew that's how I wanted to deal with whatever life throws at me this year - with determination and focus. Whatever you're working on in 2017, whether a business venture, weight-loss or your relationship with God, all you need to do is to make a conscious decision to do whatever it takes.

It might not happen as easily or as fast as you'd like, but if you keep at it, you will see results at the end of the day. Be like a river; it cares little about the obstacles it finds along its way. It will dig through hills, flow around boulders and even when you stop it by building a wall, you can be sure that one day it will stubbornly overflow and be on its way.

Here's to trudging on no matter what and to a fruitful 2017!

Until we see each other again, 

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A New Parent’s Guide to a Clean House in 15 Minutes a Day or Less

Being a new parent is by no means easy. Once you have a baby, expect your house's look and feel to change. You not only have limited time, but the kids do all they can to make the house untidy.

This is no time to have OCD. Perfection is best left to the homes without kids. It is a perfect time when just trying is good enough. So how do you keep the house at least presentable? The tips below will help you clean that house in 15minutes or less.

 Daily Chores

  • Wash dishes
  • Wipe counter-tops and tables
  • Make beds
  • Take out rubbish
  • Spot sweep
  • Spot mop
  • Wipe shoes

Weekly Chores

  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Brush carpets and rugs
  • Wipe down kitchen appliances
  • Wipe down TV and other appliances
  • Change bedding
  • Polish mirrors
  • Dust shelves and furniture
  • Do, fold and put away the laundry
  • Clean toilets and bathrooms

Monthly Chores

  • Clean the large appliances like fridges, ovens and microwaves
  • Clean cabinets
  • Disinfect dust bins
  • Wipe door knobs and Switches
  • Wash Carpets and Rugs

Seasonal Chores

  • Clean curtains and blinders
  • Clean duvets and comforters
  • Take out expired groceries

As a new mom, how do you keep your house clean?

Until we see each other again, 

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The Silent Force that Positively Impacts African Lives

Dr. Rasha Kelej is the Chief Social Officer (CSO), Global Vice President of Merck Healthcare. Currently she is also a member of Human Resources Science and Technology Cluster of African Union (ECOSOCC).

Rasha Kelej at Merck more than a Mother launch Nigeria

She is a pharmacist, a speaker, women’s rights activist, a professional and dedicated businesswoman who has gained international recognition through hard work and received many awards for women leadership excellence and for her contribution to women empowerment.

She hails from Egypt and enrolled at the Alexandria University with a B.Sc. Ph Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (1989-1994). MBA from Robert Gordon University, U.K.  on "Corporate Social Responsibility- CSR  integration with business strategy".

Rasha has 22 years’ experience in the international pharma industry specializing in the biotechnology field. Over the past four years she has been able to create and achieve the following:

Rasha Kelej in Nigeria

Merck More Than a Mother” which is aimed at eradicating stigmatization on infertile women and empowering them to live better lives.

“Merck More Than a Patient” which aims to uplift women cancer survivors to reclaim their lives and become active contributors to the economy.

Merck African Oncology with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa and hence improve access to cancer care.

Merck Capacity Advancement Program that seeks to improve access to innovative healthcare solutions and to build healthcare and life science research capacity focusing on NCDs such as Diabetes, Hypertension, fertility and Oncology.

UNESCO Merck Africa Research Summit to empower Youth and Women in Research and build research capacity in Africa.

Rasha has received many awards to recognize her contribution towards empowering African women in the field of Research and Healthcare and empowering underprivileged women who lived with infertility and women cancer survivors.

Rasha strives daily to impact excellence in healthcare contribution to humanity; she serves on the board of several organizations and social initiatives.

Until we see each other again, 

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A hidden killer in your diet

If we were to follow advise from all the studies and researches that have been done, we'd never breath or eat anything ever again.

Image source: Pixabay
You've been told again and again to always take a balanced diet. You also know that animal proteins help in building and repairing muscles and body tissues. But did you know that meat can kill you? Turns out it can.

According to a recent study, a meaty diet increases the risk of heart failure in post-menopausal women. For a period of 5 years, data from the daily diet diaries of over 100,000 women aged 50-79 years was analyzed. In addition to the self-reported information, the scientists also used a urine biomarker test to determine the dietary protein the body.

The results indicated that higher calibrated total dietary meat protein intake appeared to be associated with substantially increased risk of heart failure. Vegetable protein intake, however, appeared to be protective. Other factors such as age, educational level, diabetes, ethnicity, artery disease, high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm did not alter the results.

Similar studies have also shown an association between increased meat protein association and cardiovascular disease risk in women. Additional studies are however needed to further explore this potential association.

Until we see each other again, 

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Merck announces their Diabetes Award 2016 Winners to mark World Diabetes Day

  • Merck kicks off their social media campaign to raise awareness about diabetes early detection and prevention as part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program - CAP
  • Merck Diabetes Award aims to build diabetes experts platform in partnership with African and Asian universities.

Merck marks today the World Diabetes Day themed ‘Eyes on diabetes’ with the announcement of the 2016 “Merck Diabetes Award” winners drawn from African and Asian universities. The award as part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program was launched in April 2016 in partnership with African and Asian universities with the aim of building a platform of diabetes experts across the globe.

"Merck plays an important role in building Diabetes Care capacity in partnership with African and Asian Universities. Today marks an important day in the fight against Diabetes as we celebrate World Diabetes Day. In this context, we have announced ten Diabetes Award Winners" says Belen Garijo, Member of Merck's Executive Board and CEO Merck Healthcare. “This initiative fully illustrates our commitment to improving access to affordable Healthcare in Africa and other developing countries “Garijo added.

Sana Laraib Daud and Zoubia Fathima from United Arab Emirates receive
their awards from Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare

The scientific committee received over 500 concept submission applications from universities in Africa and Asia and 10 winners were selected for the award. The winner from each university has been granted a one year postgraduate diabetes diploma in South Wales University, United Kingdom.

Merck invited all medical students to apply for the “Merck Diabetes Award” 2016 with the theme "Every day is a Diabetes Day". Students across African and Asian medical universities were asked to submit a concept paper on how to improve diabetes early detection and prevention in their countries and how to encourage their society, scientific community, local authorities, media and relevant stakeholders to think and act on diabetes every day.

“Merck Diabetes Award” marks another step in our long term commitment to support diabetes care strategy through working with local governments, academia and relevant stakeholders in building healthcare capacity with a focus on Diabetes, Hypertension and other  non-communicable diseases in various countries in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America,” said Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare when making the announcement of the winners.

Ahmed Reja, the President of International Diabetes Federation, Africa and President of Ethiopia Diabetes Association emphasized: “We are very happy to partner with Merck to drive their strategy to build diabetes capacity and roll out the Merck Diabetes Award across the continent. The awards encourage the students to be more innovative and take a leadership position to fight diabetes in their own country.”

Medical students’ testimonies on the Merck Capacity Advancement Program

European Accredited Clinical Diabetes and Hypertension Program

In addition, as part of its recognition of the World Diabetes Day, the Merck Capacity Advancement Program also launched its European Accredited Clinical Diabetes and Hypertension management 2016 tour across Africa and Asia. The program supports focused training to build diabetes healthcare capacity for medical undergraduates, postgraduates and healthcare providers in partnership with universities across the two continents.

More than 5,000 medical undergraduates have benefited from the fourth edition of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program which covered eight African countries and is in partnership with Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; University of Nairobi, Kenya; Makerere University, Uganda; Muhimbili University, Tanzania; University of Ghana; University of Namibia; Eduardo Mondelane University in Mozambique and Agostinho Neto  University, Angola. In Asia the tours are being conducted with Maharashtra University, India and University of Indonesia.

Merck Capacity Advancement Program’s European Accredited Clinical and
Hypertension Program session at the University of Nairobi, Kenya

Merck Capacity Advancement Program’s European Accredited Clinical and
Hypertension Program session at the University of Indonesia

Merck Capacity Advancement Program’s European Accredited Clinical and
Hypertension Program session at the
Maharashtra University, India


In addition to building capacity among healthcare professionals to provide quality diabetes care, Merck runs a social media campaign providing diabetes patient education through videos and information materials in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and many local languages focusing on diabetes early symptoms and complications to raise awareness on diabetes and the importance of early detection and prevention among communities.

Merck Capacity Advancement Program social media

Visit for more information

Watch the below videos of diabetes patients from India, Indonesia and Africa sharing their experience with diabetes.



Watch the below videos of Diabetes Patients Awareness videos #MerckDiabetesTips symptoms and complications in English, French, Portuguese and local languages

Meet the winners of Merck Diabetes Award 2016 from African and Asian universities

Elisha Kipkemoi Ngetich 
College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya

“I am ecstatic at winning the Merck Diabetes Award 2016. I thank Merck for providing this wonderful platform where students can further their studies in non-communicable diseases. With the current surge in the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya and other developing countries, the timing of this award could not have been better. Over the years, I have developed an interest in diabetes because I have seen patients in the different stages of this disease. I have also seen the impact that early recognition and management of this disease can have and I am privileged to broaden my understanding of the disease through this postgraduate diploma course. This will also build me academically and professionally as well. This is the kind of initiative that Kenya and Africa at large needs, an initiative to empower young doctors and other healthcare professionals. This information then trickles down to the patients and ultimately we end up with a healthy Kenya and Africa. I am convinced that the knowledge I will gather during this experience will significantly impact on my practice in the near future and hence a better outcome for our diabetic patients.”

Ralph Obure
College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya

“The Kenyan healthcare system faces new challenges in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases and so efforts by Merck to increase capacity are timely and highly welcome. I am honoured to receive the Merck Diabetes Award that will advance my medical career and enable me to provide the much needed expertise in diabetes management in Kenya.”

Antara Bagchi
Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, India

“Merck is providing an opportunity for the care and control of diabetes in the community especially in Asia and Africa, where non-communicable diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Merck Capacity Advancement Programme is a ground-breaking initiative to control this rampant and growing epidemic of NCDs like diabetes, by motivating and sensitising undergraduate students like us, and giving them a chance to gain an in-depth, holistic knowledge about every aspect of this disease. I am sure that this initiative will have a profound impact on the health scenario, and the incidence and morbidity of NCDs will be lowered significantly.”

Samuel Mucheru
Aga Khan University, Kenya

 “This award is important to me because it marks the start of a future career in diabetes management which I am very passionate about. It will help build diabetes expertise in my country, which is badly needed due to the exponential increase in diabetes cases within the population. Moreover, it will help achieve the wider goal of building capacity in diabetes management especially in the low and middle income countries whose non-communicable disease burden is on an upward trend without a commensurate increase in the number of experts to deal with this pandemic.”

Tinka George
Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda

“I am grateful and happy that Merck has provided us with this great opportunity to advance our knowledge in diabetes. This opportunity of increasing the number of diabetes specialists will step up efforts in the fight against this 'silent killer', especially here in Africa where the burden of the disease is skyrocketing day and night. This will help save many lives.”

Gloria Ani-asamoah
Accra, Ghana

“It is a privilege to acquire current knowledge in the management of diabetes. It is my hope that at the end of this course l will be a better advocate in diabetes prevention and offer comprehensive diabetes care. The time is now to curb the menace of disease.”

Nujood Al Shirawi
Intern, Dubai Health Authority, United Arab Emirates

“Diabetes is a lifelong illness which affects the lives of more than 14% adults in UAE. With such a high percentage, everybody in the UAE knows individuals battling diabetes. I am grateful to Merck and Dubai Medical College for enabling the young doctors in the region to participate in such a program where a platform has been created for exchange of knowledge between national and international experts. I am looking forward to the diabetes diploma and believe it will add to my existing knowledge and help develop my understanding of this illness which affects nearly every organ in the body. It was a wonderful experience to be part of this award and I would encourage all my colleagues to participate in any future events.”

Najmah Kuddah
General Practitioner, University of Indonesia, Indonesia

“Indonesia is the fifth largest population with diabetes, yet 73.7% is undiagnosed because of lack of awareness. One of them could be someone we love. This award means everything to me, so I can do something for my family, people and my country”.

Dominic Oduro-Donkor
Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Ghana

“In Ghana many people do not have access to healthcare services in order to identify, diagnose and treat diabetes and its complications. It is essential to achieve adequate diabetes care as the number of people living with the condition continues to escalate. There is also a need to commit resources to diabetes education across Ghana and the African continent at large. Until this happens large numbers of people will end up experiencing potentially preventable diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

The reason why this award is important to me is because Merck has given me an opportunity to take my trade outside the consulting room and making it possible for me to help more people, to make my voice louder and to help those who can’t help themselves.

Access to diabetic care in Africa will slowly grow with the initiation of this award, because it will create ‘diabetes scholars’ who will have more insight and knowledge on the best care needed for patients and how to facilitate it. Together, our voices will resonate the need for change and improved management strategies, which will change the face of diabetes care in Africa. The mobilization of professionals across the continent of Africa is the first step in forming a platform where ideas can be put across and shared to make diabetic care easily accessible.”

Ken Munene Nkonge
University of Nairobi, Kenya

“Similar to other countries in Africa, majority of people living with diabetes in Kenya are diagnosed late, when the options available for preventing complications of the disease are few and suboptimal. I strongly believe that community-based preventative measures alongside early diagnosis and management of prediabetes and related comorbidities such as obesity and hypertension are essential to reducing the burden of type 2 diabetes on Kenya’s health care system. The Merck Diabetes Award is important to me because it will empower me with the knowledge and skills needed to make this belief a reality across Kenya. As the recipient of this award, I look forward to this amazing opportunity.”

About the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP)

Merck CAP is a 5-year program aiming to expand the professional capacity in developing countries in the areas of research and development, advocacy building, supply-chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, medical education, and community awareness. It was established in 2012.

As part of the CAP, more than 17,000 medical students from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda in addition to Asian universities such as Maharashtra University, India and University of Indonesia have benefited from this program and we aim to reach 25,000 by 2018.
Until we see each other again, 

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Weight Gain Over Time Increases Risk of Cancer by up to 50%

A research has shown that adding weight over a number of years increases the risk of getting obesity-related cancers by 20% in women and by 50% in men. The study monitored 300,000 Americans between ages 18 and 65 trying to find the link between obesity and cancer.

Image Source
During the study, some people added a little weight while others added a great deal of it. The participants were then followed an average of 15 years while cancer rates were recorded.

The study found that being overweight increased the risk of obesity related cancers such as womb and ovarian in women, as well as bowel, breast and pancreas in both men and women. Compared to the participants who remained in the healthy weight range, men whose BMI increased from 22 to 27 had a 50% increased risk while the women whose BMI increased from 23 to 32 had a 17% increased risk of developing these cancers.

It is therefore more important to look at the weight gain over a person's lifetime when assessing the cancer risk as compared to checking their BMI at any single point, stated the lead scientist of the study, Dr Hannah Lennon, University of Manchester.

As much as it is not a guarantee against cancer, maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy lifestyle sure stacks the odds in anyone's favor, not to mention the other numerous health benefits that comes with it.

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“Merck More than a Mother” addresses infertility challenges and solutions in Africa in partnership with International Federation Fertility Societies (IFFS)

  • “Merck More than a Mother” engages policy makers and healthcare providers to define interventions to address infertility prevention and management in Africa
  • Define policies to regulate ART in Africa starting with Kenya, Uganda  and Nigeria 
  • Empowering of infertile women socially and economically through “Empowering Berna” Project.
"Merck More than a Mother" in partnership with the International Federation of Fertility Societies- IFFS conducted a high level panel addressed infertility challenges and solutions in Africa at the opening ceremony of the World Congress of (IFFS) held in New Delhi, India. The high level panel of ministers, parliamentarians and global fertility experts from IFFS and Africa Fertility Society highlighted lack of access to regulated fertility care and awareness about infertility management and widespread stigma of infertile women as some of the key challenges in Africa.

The panel called for increased efforts to improve access to regulated fertility care through the development of artificial reproductive therapy (ART) laws and regulations and to empower infertile women through access to education and information   They also supported the training of African embryologists and discussed different interventions to remove the infertility stigma and create a culture shift and change of mindset.

Watch this video for a summary of the high level panel discussion on infertility challenges and solutions in Africa

The high level panel including Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health, Uganda; Hon. Betty Amongi, Uganda’s Minister of Lands Housing and Urban Development and Chair of Uganda Women Parliamentarian Association; Hon. Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender, Liberia; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Patrick Amoth, Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya; Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Former President of International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS); Dr. Richard Kennedy, President of IFFS; Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Fertility Society; Dr. James Olobo-Lalobo, Vice-President of Africa Fertility Society, Uganda and Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare supported the implementation of “Merck More than a Mother’s” strategic objectives and interventions across Africa.

To read more about

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer Merck Healthcare

“The aim of “Merck More than a Mother” is to empower infertile women in Africa through improving access to education, information and health and change of mind-set and in case they cannot be treated the campaign is empowering them economically and socially through “Empowering Berna” Project so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives,” said Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

Hon. Sarah Opendi, the Minister of Health, Uganda.

 “In Uganda, between 15-20% of couples fail to conceive. The number of fertility clinics in the country to address this problem are few and expensive. Together with “Merck More than a Mother” in Uganda we are creating awareness that infertility can be prevented and that to improve access, fertility care can be integrated into the already existing public reproductive healthcare services which will be cost effective as the infrastructure is already there. In addition we are building a hospital for Women Health where we will dedicate an IVF center to provide couples with affordable and effective treatment with the support of Merck to train the future staff,” said Hon. Sarah Opendi, the Minister of Health, Uganda.

Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya.

“In our culture, a woman is always blamed for infertility. She carry’s the shame, embarrassment and tears in private. We need to create awareness by providing information and education on infertility so that both men and women can talk about it. “Merck More than a Mother” campaign has opened discussions on infertility and is talking about solutions and interventions available,” said Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya.

Hon. Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender, Liberia

 At the meeting Merck showed a few videos of African infertile women who shared their stories of suffering due to failing to have children and their transformation after meeting Merck more than a Mother team who helped empower them socially and economically.

Watch the story of Grace Kambini

Watch the story of Jackline Mwende

Speaking on the need to create a culture shift, Hon. Julia Duncan Cassell, Minister of Gender, and Liberia said: “We should look at a woman as more than a mother. It is not always the fault of the woman when there is no child, but in our culture it is. We need to speak out as both men and women can be affected by infertility. Violence and stigma against infertile women should not be tolerated. We need to change our culture, tradition, attitude and mind-set. These can be modified and changed. We hope the “Merck More than a Mother” initiative can be extended to other African countries so that awareness can increase and know that infertility can be caused by many factors and that with the right information it can be prevented.”

Hon. Betty Amongi Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda.

 “In the African culture, marriage gives a woman the right to property and land. When they don’t bear children they are disinherited and when they go back home there is also nothing for them. Therefore, empowering infertile women economically and socially as “Merck More than a Mother” is doing is important because most of them have nowhere to go. This enables them to sustain themselves and with the information they are given they become change agents in their communities,” said Hon. Betty Amongi, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda.

Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, former President, IFFS.

Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, President of IFFS supported the need and importance of building fertility care capacity in Africa. “We in high resource countries have an obligation to provide education, service and translate in the shortest period of time the advances that are being made in our labs to middle and low resource countries”.

Prof Richard Kennedy, President, IFFS.

“IFFS has an important role to support “Merck More than a Mother”. We agree that education is essential and that we will support the education and training initiatives necessary in Africa to develop capacity for infertility treatment,” said Prof Richard Kennedy, President elect of IFFS.

Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President Africa Fertility Society.

“In Nigeria people who come into our clinics are afraid because they don’t want people to know they are taking fertility treatment. In most of these cases only women seek treatment for infertility and not the men. People prefer to seek help elsewhere and by the time they come for medical help it is too late. We are happy that “Merck More than a Mother” campaign is being launched in Nigeria and in Africa to create a culture shift that will enable people to seek proper treatment for infertility and that there is respect for womanhood than motherhood,” emphasized Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President Africa Fertility Society.

Dr Patrick Amoth Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health Kenya

Dr. Patrick Amoth, Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health Kenya pledged support for the work that “Merck More than a Mother” is doing in Kenya. “The Ministry will play a key role in developing policy and guidelines to implement the ART law to ensure standards and regulations are maintained to protect couples seeking fertility treatment from exploitation,” he emphasized.

Watch this video for a long version of the high level panel discussion on infertility challenges and solutions in Africa 

 The high level panel (left to right) Dr. Patrick Amoth, Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya; Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Fertility Society; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Richard Kennedy, President, IFFS; Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health, Uganda; Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; Hon. Betty Amongi, Uganda’s Minister of Lands Housing and Urban Development and Chair of Uganda Women Parliamentarian Association; Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, former President, IFFS; Hon. Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender, Liberia and Dr. James Olobo-Lalobo, Vice-President of Africa Fertility Society

At the World Congress of IFFS, 2000 world fertility experts

Until we see each other again, 

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