By Kondwani Chitosi in Accra
First Lady of Malawi, Prof. Gertrude Mutharika together with seven other African First Ladies have received special recognition from Merck Foundation for their contribution in the fight against stigma relating to infertility and also enhancing access to medical treatment for infertility.
According to Merck Foundation, Madame Mutharika who has been Ambassador for Merck Foundation’s More than a mother initiative for three months was recognized for showing passion to ensure that women with infertility get assistance and also that they are not discriminated against.
Speaking at the conference which is being attended by 20 First Ladies and Ministers of health, education, information and gender, Mutharika said she is proud to be part of an initiative that is relieving sufferings of women who are considered infertile.
“I have spent my first three months as Ambassador for Merck Foundation in Malawi championing for a multi sector approach to addressing infertility challenges. Through Beautify Malawi, I have engaged ministries responsible for information, health, gender and education so that they can mainstream interventions that can bring lasting solutions to infertility,” she said.
Akufo-Addo on her part said she was proud to be part of the initiative which Merck Foundation is championing among African First Ladies saying First Ladies have influence that can break stigma.
“Blaming and mocking of infertile couples must stop. We are striving to end the old age tradition of tormenting infertile couples need the support of everyone. I am proud to be part of First Ladies that are dealing with this challenge,” she added.
The First Lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, was recognized for the creativity she displayed when she composed a song addressing myths about infertility.
First Lady of Central African Republic, Brigitte Touadera, was recognized for being the first Ambassador of Merck Foundation in 2015.
Esther Lungu, First Lady of Zambia on the other hand was recognized for the support she has been given to the foundation.
Other First Ladies that were recognized by Merck Foundation during the sixth Edition of Merck African- Asia Luminary in Accra Ghana are Denise Nkurunziza (Burundi), Hinnda Deby Itno (Chad), Clar Marie Weah (Liberia) and Fatima Maada Bio (Sierra Leone) were recognized for being new ambassadors of Merck’s More than a mother initiative in their respective countries.
Merck Foundation has since 2015 been working with African First Ladies to champion more than a mother initiative.
Merck Foundation helps first ladies to build the capacity in embryology and awareness campaign on initiatives being implemented by African First Ladies.