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...

Are you Making these six Parenting Mistakes?

Parenting would be easier if it came with a manual. We all have different parenting styles and none can be said to be better than the other. There are however mistakes we all make as parents, sometimes coming from a very good place.In this post we discuss six major parenting mistakes.

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.

Meal time Must Haves

If you chose to exclusively breastfeed, you will not need feeding essentials until your little one is at least 6 months. Bibs, bowls, a high chair and spoons are just some of the items you need when you start feeding your baby solids. In this post we look at the meal time must haves for today's moms.

http://c.jumia.io/?a=59&c=9&p=r&E=kkYNyk2M4sk%3d&ckmrdr=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jumia.co.ke%2Ffeeding%2F&s1=baby%20feeding&utm_source=cake&utm_medium=affiliation&utm_campaign=59&utm_term=baby feeding

Feeding bottles:
BPA free feeding bottles with nipples are ideal for feeding your baby liquids like breast milk, formula, water and juices. Ensure that the nipple is the right one for your baby's age to prevent straining the baby if the flow is too slow or choking when the flow is too fast.

Bowls:
When choosing a bowl, go for unbreakable ones. Babies love tossing things around and the feeding bowls will suffer many dives to the floor in their time. And like with other baby products, use BPA free bowls as a recent study linked this enzyme inhibitor to obesity later in life.

Spoons:
Baby spoons should be soft, rounded and rubber coated. This prevents injuries to the delicate and at times tender gums. 

Bibs:
Feeding a baby is a messy affair. They spit out the food and spread it all over everything that comes in contact including you. Using a bib ensures that you reduce the mess they make on their cloths. It is easier to clean a bib that clean that shirt and sweater.

Lunch Box:
There are times when you need to pack food for your baby. An example is when going to church. Finger foods are perfect in such cases because they are less messy and your baby can feed herself/himself.

High Chair:
A high chair makes things much easier for you when feeding your child. It not only keeps her/him upright enough to swallow with ease, it also lifts the baby to your level on the dining table making feeding a breeze. It also restrains him/her giving both your hands the much needed freedom to, I don't know, feed yourself.

Sippy Cups:
Once your baby hits the one year mark, it is time to ditch the feeding bottle for a sippy cups for the sake of those teeth. The sprout should be soft and the handles textured for an easier grip.

Soft Face Towels:
After feedings, you will need to clean up your baby. A soft face towel dipped in warm water will do the job well. Avoid using scented wet wipes as they may irritate the baby's skin especially in the delicate areas like the neck.

You can get the meal time must haves delivered to you by ordering through that link. The products available include breastfeeding products, food preparation items, high chairs and boosters, pacifiers and teethers, feeding bottles, food storage containers, bibs and burp cloths, table tableware as well as baby food.
 


Until we see each other again, 


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Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp awarded by Africa’s First Female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

  • E. President of Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recognizes Prof.Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp for Merck’s contribution towards empowering women and girls in science and technology.
  • Merck marks the International Women‘s Day” with the launch of their “More than a Mother” and “STEM program” in Liberia.

H.E. President of the Republic of Liberia and Africa’s First Female Head of State Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has awarded a “Medal of Honour” to Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board and Family Board of E. Merck KG in recognition of Merck’s efforts to empower African women and girls in the fields of science and technology where they are currently under-represented.

Watch this video of Prof. Stangenberg-Haverkamp's award ceremony.

 https://youtu.be/ldNiMBihA5o


The award is also to recognize “Merck More than a Mother” which aims to empower infertile women in Liberia and across the African continent.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp presents an award to H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia


Receiving his award Prof. Stangenberg-Haverkamp said:“I am very proud to receive this African Medal of Honour which is very important for Merck as a leading company in science and technology as it recognizes its commitment to Africa’s social and economic development.”

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp receives the ‘Medal of Honour’ from H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia


“Real economic growth and prosperity that will ensure not only all basic needs but also quality of life for African people can never be achieved without the economic empowerment of women and youth. Therefore we firmly support these programs to build capacity and empower women and youth in Africa,” emphasized Prof.Stangenberg-Haverkamp.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Harverkamp makes his speech before receiving his award


“As a Ministry we have made a decision to partner with Merck STEM Program to empower our girls in science and technology. This program is very important for Liberia and Her Excellency President of Republic of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is very interested to make this program a great success,”  Liberia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Cassell emphasized.


Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp thanking H.E. President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


“To mark International Women’s Day and in recognition of the important role women can play in the economic and social development of Africa, Merck is empowering women and girls to participate in STEM where they are currently under-represented, through the Merck STEM Program. We are, specially women at Merck, very proud of this award because it is from our role model, Africa’s First Female president and Head of State of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.”explained Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer of Merck Healthcare.

Merck inaugurated this initiative at Victoria Tolbert School in Liberia where it equipped its library with computer and science labs to encourage young girls to study science and technology and become the future physicians, scientists and engineers.

STEM Project by Merck is the first external support Victoria Tolbert School gets since its establishment by Her Excellency the head of state of Liberia for underprivileged and vulnerable girls.

Merck inaugurated this initiative at Victoria Tolbert School in Liberia where it where it equipped its library with computer and science labs to encourage young girls to study science and technology and become the future physicians, scientists and engineers.


Join the conversation on social media on how to encourage women and girls participation in STEM and build research capacity in Africa

 Twitter handle: @Merck_MARS
 Facebook page: Merck Africa Research Summit 
 YouTube Channel: Merck Africa Research Summit

Please visit www.unesco-mars.com for more information.

For more about Merck’s programs in Liberia, please watch videos below.





Merck STEM Program for Girls and Women, Liberia

Merck More than a Mother with Julia Duncan Cassell - Minister for Gender, Children & Social Protection, Liberia



To read more about Merck More than a Mother please visit www.merckmorethanamother.com


Join our conversation on our social media

 Twitter handle: MerckandMothers

 Facebook page: Merckmorethanamother

  YouTube: Merck More than a Mother


Join Merck CAP Research online community to exchange experiences and information with other researchers in Africa and beyond 

www.merck-cap.com free registration


Until we see each other again, 


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Are you Making these six Parenting Mistakes?

Parenting would be easier if it came with a manual. We all have different parenting styles and none can be said to be better than the other. There are however mistakes we all make as parents, sometimes coming from a very good place.In this post we discuss six major parenting mistakes.

Are you Making these six Parenting Mistakes?
Not allowing your kids to play and explore

Children learn through play, and at times this comes with a few cries and bruises. If you keep correcting and guiding playtime, your kids will not have the confidence to try out new thing. Let them learn through their mistakes and successes.

Blaming your child for your reaction 

I have done this before; blaming my daughter for yelling at her when it is my responsibility to control my emotions. What this teaches your child is to blame others for their mistakes. Own up to yours and firmly make it clear what behavior is acceptable and what isn't.

Make unrealistic and empty threats

When your child is misbehaving, do not make threats that you are not prepared (or are unable) to follow through. Do not tell them that you'll leave them by the side of the road, for instance. Your child will see through your lies and soon your threats will have little to no impact. It also teaches your child to make threats whenever they want to have their way

Forcing your kids to show affection to Strangers

Kids will not always be comfortable around strangers. During family and friends gathering, it might be embarrassing to see your child being uncomfortable around some of your close relatives. As temping as it might be, avoid forcing your child to show affection when they do not want to. This sends confusing messages especially when you try to teach them about stranger danger.

Over-negotiating with your child

Kids are really good when it comes to pushing boundaries. They will always try to skew the rules in their own favor by negotiating with you and if you give in, you are teaching them that the rules can always be changed. Help them learn to be accountable for their actions by being firm and clear.

Always saying 'yes'

We always want the best for our kids and at times this means giving the child everything they want. Over-indulging a child materially creates a false sense of entitlement. Making it easy for them to get material things sets them up for failure in adulthood because the do not know that they have to work for rewards or compensation.
 
Until we see each other again, 


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Taking Stock | Humble and Kind

It's been a minute since I published a personal post. So much has happened lately only this kind of post will cover everything without taking all the space on the internet. Here's what I've been up to.
 

Making: my own hair these days. I finally got rid of my processed hair and have been experimenting a lot with my natural curls. I love how healthy and thick it looks and my hairline has really improved.

Cooking: a lot more than I did last year. I'm now a work-from-home-mom and I therefore have time to prepare dinner for my family every day.

Drinking: more juice and wine than I should. I guess that's what happens when your days are spent between the home office and the kitchen.

Reading: nothing at the moment. Between my work, a kindergartner, an infant and a husband, I barely have time to breathe, leave alone read. 

Looking: forward to a date night this weekend. We do not have a nanny and that means getting some adult time is close to impossible. We however make the best whenever we have my mom around

Playing: Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw. I could listen to this song all day long. I love the message.

 

Wishing: that I would lose the weight faster. I had a toe surgery in January and limped around the whole of that month and early Feb. I'm almost healed and I've resumed my workout. Time to get my sexy back!

Enjoying: taking care of my six month old daughter by myself. It's extremely difficult but I know am very lucky to be able to work from the house and look after her. I hit my pillow dead tired each night but i always have a huge smile on my face.

Waiting: for the day she'll call me mom.

Liking: how obsessed with me my baby is. She' developed separation anxiety and cries every time I leave the room. The weirdo in me is convinced that it's a declaration of how much she loves me.

Wondering: Where the time went. Just yesterday I was a single girl with no ambition in life and now I'm attending play dates and school parent's meetings.

Loving: my hubby more each day. He helps so much around the house, I'd never dream of getting a housegirl.

Considering: going to the gym. I'm currently working out from the house and I feel like going to the gym would make me more disciplined.

Buying: anything that's edible. 

Watching: Cartoons. What else do you watch when you have a four year old in the house?

Hoping: that a contract I've been praying for goes through. * Fingers crossed*

Marvelling: at how fast my second daughter is growing. She now has two teeth, sits well on her own and started propelling herself backwards two days ago.

Needing: some me time. It's been long since I was alone for more than 1 hour.

Smelling: my baby's hair and her sweet breath.

Wearing: low cut necks. You've got to reach them boobs when the baby needs a feeding.

Knowing: that family is everything.

Thinking: that I need to enjoy my kids as much as possible when they're still young. In a blink of an eye they'll be moody teenagers.

Admiring: my girls' hair. The older one has a mane to die for.

Disliking: when people tell me that my baby is spoilt because she likes to be held. Who doesn't, right?

Feeling: generally happy and fulfilled.


Until we see each other again, 


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Merck marks “International Women’s Day” with the launch of "More than a Mother” Campaign and “STEM program for Women and Girls” for the first time in Liberia

  • Merck celebrates International Women’s Day with Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
  • Merck More than a Mother” campaign for the first time in Liberia in partnership with Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Health
  • Merck marks the International Women‘s Day“ with the launch of their STEM program for Liberian women and girls.

“Merck More than a Mother” will empower infertile women in Liberia through improving access to information, health, change of mind-set and economic empowerment.

“Merck More than a Mother” was first implemented in Kenya in 2015 followed by Uganda, Nigeria,Tanzania, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Central African Republic in 2016. In Liberia both “Merck More than a Mother” and “Merck STEM” program are   in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

H.E. Madam Ellen Sirleaf, President of Liberia with Dr. Rasha Kelej (right), Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare and Maria De la Vega (left), former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidency, Kingdom of Spain and Hon. Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister for Health and Public Sanitation, Sierra Leone


H.E. Madam Ellen Sirleaf (centre), the President of Liberia and Hon. Julia Cassell, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection with some of the infertile women who have been supported through ‘Merck More than a Mother’s’ ‘Empowering Berna’ Project


HE Madam Ellen Sirleaf (left), President of Liberia, Hon. Julia Cassell (2nd left), Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia and Dr. Rasha Kelej (right), Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare


“Today we are recognizing the International Women’s Day by starting this very critical campaign for Liberia with the aim to empower an under-privileged segment of women. Women who couldn’t bear children and for this they are discriminated and mistreated by their husbands, families and communities. In some cultures, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. This is unacceptable and has to change through our campaign,” said Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

“We will also start Merck STEM Program which will contribute towards the social and economic development of Africa through empowering women and girls in the fields of science and technology where they are currently under-represented, starting today with 140 girls at Victoria Tolbert School,”Rasha Kelej added.

The Liberia Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Bernice Dahn emphasized during her speech at the launch: “We are happy to partner with reputable and innovative company such as Merck. We believe that raising awareness about infertility prevention and improving access to regulated and equitable fertility care are very important, but it is even more important to intervene to break the stigma around infertility and infertile women in particular.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare (centre) and Hon. Julia Cassell (left), Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia with infertile women who have been supported through “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Empowering Berna’ Project


Julia Cassell, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection emphasized: “In Liberia the infertility rate has increased due to the 40 years of civil conflict where women and girls were raped resulting in traumatic fistulas and the removal of their uterus to save their lives. Over 50% of these women and girls are now infertile. Harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation which is widespread in our country is also a major factor causing infertility as a complication.”

“As a Ministry we have made a decision to collaborate with “Merck More than a Mother” to help these women so that they are not stigmatized and discriminated against just because they are infertile and so that they can be empowered to become productive members of society. We also decided to partner with Merck STEM program to empower our girls in STEM. This program is very important for Liberia and Her Excellency President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is very interested to make this program a great success,” Julia Cassell added.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare and Hon. Julia Cassell, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia with girls from Victoria Tolbert School that has been equipped with a computer lab through the “Merck STEM Women and Girls” Program to encourage them to study science and technology subjects


To mark International Women’s Day and in recognition of the important role women can play in the economic and social development of Africa, Merck is empowering women and girls  to participate in STEM where they are currently under-represented, through the “Merck STEM Program”.

Merck has inaugurated their initiative at Victoria Tolbert School where they equipped their library with computer and science labs to encourage young girls to study science and technology as part of their “STEM for Girls and Women” in Africa.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare with girls from Victoria Tolbert School that has been equipped with a computer lab through the “Merck STEM Women and Girls” Program to encourage them to study science and technology subjects


STEM Project by Merck is the first external support Vicroria Tolbert School gets since their establishment by Madam President of Liberia for underprivileged and vulnerable girls.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare motivates girls from Victoria Tolbert School that has been equipped with a computer lab through the “Merck STEM Women and Girls” Program to encourage them to study science and technology subjects


About “Merck More than a Mother”

Through ‘Empowering Berna’, “Merck More than a Mother”supports infertile women who can no longer be treated by empowering them socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives. In Liberia, in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Health, Merck supported infertile women groups from Westpoint, Liberia to establish small businesses.

Over 1,000 infertile women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania,Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire who can no longer be treated have been empowered through the“Empowering Berna” project.

“Merck More than a Mother” also provides training programmes for embryologists in Africa to improve access to cost effective fertility care. In addition, it supports governments to define policies to regulate ART, address the need for interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raise awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility and the necessity for a team approach to family building among couples,” emphasized Rasha Kelej
Watch below video on the stories of infertile women from Liberia before and after they enrolled in “Merck More than a Mother” Program.



Merck More Than a Mother-The Story of Empowering Westpoint Women, Liberia

Merck STEM Program for Girls and Women, Liberia

Merck More Than a Mother with Julia Duncan Cassell - Minister for Gender, Children & Social Protection, Liberia



Watch video below of Ugandan women who are infertile and have been supported to start their own businesses through “Merck More than a Mother’s” Empowering Berna Project.

Merck More Than a Mother with Ugandan Women


About Merck Capacity Advancement Program- Merck CAP

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a ten-year program aiming to expand professional capacity in developing countries in the areas of research and development, advocacy building, supply-chain integrity and efficiency, pharmaco vigilance, medical education, and community awareness.It was established in 2012.

Merck CAP signature initiatives include the following:Merck Universities Program, Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards, Merck Cancer Access Program, Merck More than a Mother and “Merck STEM Program for Girls and Women”.

 Twitter handle: MerckCAP
 Facebook page: Merck Capacity Advancement Program
YouTube Channel: Merck Capacity Advancement Program

“Merck More than a Mother” Strategy and Objectives:

The aim is to empower infertile women in Africa through improving access to information, health, change mind-set and economic empowerment. Please visit to www.merckmorethanamother.com for more information.

  1. Create a culture shift to de-stigmatize infertility and to build respect and understanding around infertile women in Africa.
  2. Raise awareness about infertility prevention management and male infertility by integrating the topics into existing healthcare infrastructure, such as HIV, maternal health, and mother and child programs.
  3. Education and training for African embryologists to build the needed capacity.
  4. Supporting policy makers to define artificial reproductive therapy (ART) policies to improve access to regulated fertility care.
  5. Building advocacy and open dialogue and working closely with governments, policy makers, parliaments, healthcare providers, fertility experts and the media to define interventions that will reduce social suffering and improve access to regulated, effective and safe fertility care in Africa.
  6. Empowering infertile women socially and economically through access to education and healthcare, and by changing mind-sets. For example, empowering women who cannot be treated by helping them to start a small business through the “Empowering Berna"project.

 Twitter handle: MerckandMothers
 Facebook page: Merckmorethanamother
 YouTube: Merck More than a Mother


Merck STEM for Women and Girls:

Through its annual platform UNESCO Merck Africa Research Summit, the Merck STEM program aims to empower young and women African researchers in order to prepare for the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for research excellence and scientific innovation. Furthermore Merck has launched for the first time, “MARS best African Women Researcher Award” to empower women in the fields of Research and healthcare.

Furthermore; Merck empowers and inspires girls to study science and technology through providing Computer and Science labs to girls schools across the continent.

Twitter handle: @Merck_MARS
Facebook page Merck Africa Research Summit 
YouTube ChannelMerck Africa Research Summit


Please visit www.unesco-mars.com for more information.


To read more about Merck Capacity Advancement Program initiatives in Africa, visit   www.merck-cap.com and www.merck-africa.com.

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 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 2015, Merck generated sales of € 12.85 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, Darmstadt, Germany 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, Millipore Sigma and EMD Performance Materials.



Until we see each other again, 


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Vegetable & Fruit Dicer, Chopper & Slicer

If you love to cook for your family, then here is one kitchen accessory that you absolutely need; an all in one choper, dicer, slicer and grater.

http://c.jumia.io/?a=59&c=9&p=r&E=kkYNyk2M4sk%3d&ckmrdr=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jumia.co.ke%2Fgeneric-16-piece-vegetable-fruit-dicer-chopper-slicer-green-248887.html&s1=Choper-dicer&utm_source=cake&utm_medium=affiliation&utm_campaign=59&utm_term=Choper-dicer

16 Piece Vegetable & Fruit Dicer, Chopper & Slicer


The dicer/chopper comes with;
  • Fruit dicer
  • Tomato chipper
  • Vegetable  chopper
  • Potato slicer, chipper and peeler
  • Thin and thick grater
  • Rippler and plain slicer
  • Shift holder
  • Food container
The chopper is very convenient when it comes to one handed chopping of vegetables, fruits, nuts and chocolates. This comes in handy especially when you have a fussy little one limiting the use of both of your hands. You will still be able to hold your baby and chop up the food you are preparing with no mess.

Preparing food is now as easy as pressing the pusher lid down. The pieces are collected into the measuring food containers for your convenience.

The dicer, chopper normally goes for Ksh. 4,000 but you can get it at a 50% discount for Ksh. 2,000 on Jumia Kenya now. The prices are valid as at the time of publishing the post. You can see the current pricing and specifications here.  


Until we see each other again, 


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Merck empowers Ugandan infertile women for the second year through “Merck More than a Mother” in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health

  • Through ‘Empowering Berna’ project, “Merck More than a Mother” empowers infertile women socially and economically.
  • “Merck More than a Mother” aims to improve access to information, education, healthcare and change of mind-set to break the stigma around infertility.
Kampala, Uganda, February 27, 2017 – Merck, a leading science and technology company, today continues their commitment for the second year to empower infertile women in Uganda through improving access to information, health, change of mind-set and economic empowerment.   

Through “Empowering Berna”, Merck in partnership with Uganda Ministry of Health inaugurates today small businesses that been established this year to support infertile women across the country.
 Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare encouraging infertile women who have been empowered through “Merck More than a Mother’s” ‘Empowering Berna’ Project in Tororo, Uganda as Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare (second left) and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister State for Health, Uganda look on

Speaking at the event, BelĂ©n Garijo, Member of Executive Board and CEO of Merck Healthcare emphasized: “I believe in women empowerment and especially childless women - they are mistreated and discriminated in many cultures for being unable to have children and start a family. Empowering these women through access to information, health, and change of mind set to remove the stigma of infertility is needed. Through Merck More than a Motherwe are supporting this strong message together with our partners and we will continue our commitment to improve access to regulated and effective fertility care in Africa.”

Courtesy call on Uganda’s First Lady: From left to right: Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare; H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady Central African Republic; H.E. Madam Janet Museveni, First Lady, Republic of Uganda; Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; Hon. VirginieBaiokua, Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, Central African Republic; Hon. Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone and Lina Ekomo, Central African Republic. 
   

The day’s program also included a courtesy visit to Uganda’s First Lady H.E. Janet Museveni at State House,Kampala by the Merck delegation to brief her on the “Merck More than a Mother” initiative and to explore possible areas of collaboration. The delegation consisted of H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady, Central African Republic; Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda; Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare; Virginie Baiokua, Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, Central African Republic; Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone; Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; and Lina Ekomo, Central African Republic.  
 From left to right: Dr. Anthony Mbonye, Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health, Uganda; Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda; H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady, Central African Republic; Hon. Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone and Hon. VirginieBaiokua (2nd row center), Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, Central African Republic.

“In Africa including Uganda, infertile women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. More often an inability to have a child or to become pregnant results in the woman being greatly isolated, disinherited or assaulted. This sometimes also results in divorce or physical and psychological violence. I am glad to see an initiative that addresses this challenge in the public domain in Africa as it is something that no one talks about and is treated as secret. “Merck More than a Mother” is therefore very important for Africa since it aims to define interventions to reduce the stigma and social suffering of infertile women across the continent,” said, Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda.            

Dignitaries meeting before the “Merck More than a Mother” event in Kampala, Uganda: Left to right – Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare; H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady, Central African Republic; Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda; Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, Past President, International Federation of Fertility Societies; Prof.OladapoAshiru, President, Africa Fertility Society; and Dr. James Olobo-Lalobo, Vice President, Africa Fertility Society. 
 
Madame Brigitte Touadera, the First Lady of the Central African Republic (CAR) said: “I am very happy to participate in today’s launch another milestone of “Merck More than a Mother” in Uganda as it follows the one we had for the Central African Republic (CAR) last month and in Kenya yesterday. As the champion for the initiative in CAR and for Francophone Africa, I acknowledge the social suffering infertile women go through and the role that “Merck More than a Mother” is playing to eliminate this suffering and stigmatization by raising awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and the necessity of a team approach to family building among couples which is very critical for Africa.”

Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare explained: “Empowering those women across Ugandan rural villages was very essential, those women suffered great deal of discrimination, violence and isolation. Moreover meeting community members and leaders there to emphasize the importance to change their perception of infertility and infertile women in specific was very productive. I have witnessed firsthand the instant change of their mind-set and the transformation of those vulnerable childless women to strong, proud and productive community members.”    
Brian and Sawuiya Ntongo (2nd right) a couple from Uganda shares their experience with infertility and how they overcome it together through a shared responsibility as Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare and Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare look on and admire the baby born after both of them sought fertility care as a couple.  

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), lower levels of development are thought to be associated with higher levels of non-genetic and preventable causes of infertility such as poor nutrition, untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unsafe abortion, consequence of infections caused by the practice of female genital mutilation, exposure to smoking and to leaded petrol and other environmental pollutants. Hence prevention awareness is very important,” Sarah Opendi added.
H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady Central African Republic and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda address participants in Tororo, Uganda during the inauguration of businesses for infertile women established with support from “Merck More than a Mother’s” ‘Empowering Berna’ Project.
 
“The businesses established by “Empowering Berna” project are benefitting over800women in many districts in Ugandawho have come together in groups and have been trained and supported to establish bakery, catering and tent hire businesses and more. They are currently able to earn an income to support themselves from their own new businesses - they are now ‘more than mothers,’” Rasha Kelej added.  
Right to left: Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare; H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera, First Lady, Central African Republic; Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO, Merck Healthcare and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health, Uganda cut a ribbon to signify the inauguration of the chairs, tables and tent hire business established for one of infertile women’s group in Tororo, Uganda through “Merck More than a Mother’s” ‘Empowering Berna’ Project.
 
Over 1,000 infertile women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania,CAR, Ethiopia, Liberiaand Cote D’Ivoire who can no longer be treated have been empowered socially and economically to lead independent and happier lives through “Empowering Berna”.

The event in Uganda was attended by policy makers including ministers and fertility experts and included: Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda;Zuliatu Cooper, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone; VirginieBaikoua, Minister of Social Affairs and National Reconciliation, CAR; Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; OladapoAshiru, President of Africa Fertility Society; Joe Simpson, Past President, International Federation of Fertility Societies; Paul Le Roux, President of Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy; Kamini Rao, Chair International Institute for Training &Research in Reproductive Health, India; and Mohamed Kamal, President of Future Assured Foundation, Nigeria.    

Maria Nabaggala, a researcher at Infectious Diseases Institute, Uganda, the 4th place winner, of 2016 UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit ‘Best African Women Researcher Award’ is awarded at home by Dr. Belen Garijo, CEO Merck Healthcare; and Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State of Health, Uganda as Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare looks on. The 2016 UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Maria was first awarded.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare, engages with religious leaders in Tororo, Uganda on how they can support the fight against the stigmatization and discrimination of infertile women in their communities.  

Watch videos below of Ugandan women who are infertile and have been supported to start their own businesses through “Merck More than a Mother’s” Empowering Berna Project.

 https://youtu.be/NwptKwSagzg
Merck More Than a Mother with Ugandan Women

 https://youtu.be/Ir_9SclIycs
Merck More Than a Mother with Atieno Petwa

https://youtu.be/Ryq11JwQcfw
Merck More Than a Mother with Aketcho Mary
      
 https://youtu.be/NkSMaH0ZELw
Merck More Than a Mother with Alow Manzeliana

 https://youtu.be/IQGafGwKJwg
Merck More Than a Mother with Atieno Jennifer

https://youtu.be/oZWlm15fV5g
   Merck More Than a Mother with Auma Rose

  https://youtu.be/4VrJGS93F5A
  Merck More Than a Mother with Apio Jessica
 

https://youtu.be/K1066Po7S9Y
Merck More Than a Mother with Rose Nyagol
 
Watch below the video of a Ugandan couple Byansi and Sawuyaand their battle with infertility and how they sought fertility care together and got a baby. 

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNwVZ5MkNN0
 Merck More Than a Mother with Byansi Adrian Ssemugga and SawuyaNtongo, couple from Uganda
     


About Merck Capacity Advancement Program- Merck CAP The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a ten-year program aiming to expand 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.

Merck CAP signature initiatives include the following:Merck Universities Program, Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards, Merck Cancer Access Program, Merck More than a Mother and “Merck STEM Program for Girls and Women”.

Twitter handle: MerckCAP
Facebook page: Merck Capacity Advancement Program
YouTube Channel: Merck Capacity Advancement Program  

About Merck More than a Mother   The aim is to empower infertile women in Africa through improving access to information, health, change mind-set and economic empowerment. Please visit to www.merckmorethanamother.com for more information. “Merck More than a Mother” Strategy and Objectives:  
  1. Create a culture shift to de-stigmatize infertility and to build respect and understanding around infertile women in Africa.
  2. Raise awareness about infertility prevention management and male infertility by integrating the topics into existing healthcare infrastructure, such as HIV, maternal health, and mother and child programs.
  3. Education and training for African embryologists to build the needed capacity.
  4. Supporting policy makers to define artificial reproductive therapy (ART) policies to improve access to regulated fertility care. 
  5. Building advocacy and open dialogue and working closely with governments, policy makers, parliaments, healthcare providers, fertility experts and the media to define interventions that will reduce social suffering and improve access to regulated, effective and safe fertility care in Africa.
  6. Empowering infertile women socially and economically through access to education and healthcare, and by changing mind-sets. For example, empowering women who cannot be treated by helping them to start a small business through the “Empowering Berna"project.
Twitter handle: MerckandMothers
Facebook page: Merckmorethanamother
YouTube: Merck More than a Mother      

About Merck Cancer Access Program   Merck has started this program in Africa with two initiatives:
  • Merck Africa Medical Oncology Program
The first Medical Oncology Fellowship Program for Sub-Saharan Africa held at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and at Tata Memorial Centre in India,with the aim to increase the limited number of qualified oncologists in the continent.  
  • Merck More than a Patient initiative
In partnership with cancer patients’ organizations across Africa, this will support women cancer survivors to establish small businesses in order to re-build their independent lives and become productive members of society.

 #MerckCancerTips

Twitter: Merck_MCCP
Face book: Merck Cancer Control Program
YouTube: Merck Cancer Control Program        

About Merck Universities Program The program provides European accredited diabetes and hypertension management for medical undergraduates and postgraduates from African universities. It enables them to become diabetes and hypertension ambassadors across the continent, especially in rural areas. More than 17,000 medical students from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda have benefited from this program and we aim to reach 25,000 by 2018.

Merck launched the “Merck Diabetes Award” and the “Merck Hypertension Award” in March 2016 as part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program for Africa and Asia with the aim to build a platform of diabetes and hypertension experts across the globe.

Merck STEM for Women and Girls
Through its annual platform UNESCO Merck Africa Research Summit, the Merck STEM program aims to empower young and women African researchers in order to prepare for the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for research excellence and scientific innovation. Furthermore Merck has launched for the first time, “MARS best African Women Researcher Award” to empower women in the fields of Research and healthcare.  

Twitter handle: @Merck_MARS
 Facebook page Merck Africa Research Summit
YouTube ChannelMerck Africa Research Summit  

Please visit www.unesco-mars.com for more information.   To read more about Merck Capacity Advancement Program initiatives in Africa, visit www.merck-cap.com and www.merck-africa.com.

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.      

About Merck Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 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 2015, Merck generated sales of € 12.85 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, Darmstadt, Germany 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 and EMD Performance Materials.              

Until we see each other again, 


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