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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