Merck More than a Mother Campaign, joins the conversation and reduce stigma on infertility

Belén Garijo, CEO Merck Healthcare signs to show her support for Kenya’s IVF bill as Joyce Lay, a Member of Parliament in Kenya, and Prof. Koigi Kamau of the University of Nairobi look on

Merck launched the “Merck More than a Mother” campaign in partnership with the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Fertility Society to address the need for interventions to reduce stigmatization and the social suffering of infertile women. The campaign was launched in Nairobi in June 2015 by Belén Garijo, CEO Merck Healthcare.

“Providing access to infertility care is important, but it is even more important to intervene to decrease stigmatization and social suffering arising from this condition,” said Belén Garijo during the launch of the campaign.
The initiative addresses key challenges that are associated with resource-constrained settings such as prevention of infertility, education and self-development, assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) regulation, geographic barriers, reproductive rights and over-population and limited resources arguments.

The stigma that follows infertile women more often than not leads to complex and devastating consequences. These range from isolation, ostracism, discrimination, disinheritance, physical and psychological assault and even divorce.

Together with policy makers, academia, fertility experts, the community and media, the initiative aims to challenge the perception of infertile women, their roles and worth in society, both within and beyond the medical profession in order to achieve a systemic shift in the current culture of gender discrimination in the context of fertility care in African societies.

Joyce Lay the Campaign’s ambassador

During the Merck Africa Luminary held in November 2015 in Nairobi, Dr Karl- Ludwig Kley, Chairman of Executive Board and CEO Merck, appointed Joyce Lay as the ambassador for the campaign in Kenya for the period 2015-2016 in recognition of her contribution in reducing stigmatization on infertility in the country.

Dr Kley also awarded Grace Kambini, a Kenyan woman who has openly shared her story of stigmatization and suffering for being infertile for her courage in creating awareness and sharing her devastating experience so that no other woman would suffer the same. Grace is the champion of the campaign.

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