As part of its continued efforts to raises awareness on infertility in Africa, the Merck Foundation has launched an empowering song talking about the issues that generally remain a taboo on the continent.
Titled Life is Bigger, the song is aimed to raise awareness about male infertility and to break the stigma around infertility in Africa.
Written and sung by Tom Close, a famous singer from Rwanda and a medical doctor by profession, the song tries to bring in a cultural shift through art.
Speaking at the unveiling of the song, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother Dr. Rasha Kelej said the song reinvigorates the changes that the foundation is implementing in Africa.
“The song communicates an important message to the society that not only women but men too can be the cause of infertility. It also speaks about the stigma attached to infertility, articulates that life is bigger than having children and delivers Merck Foundation’s key message that a woman is more than a mother and men re more than just
“The song addresses infertility stigma with the aim of raising awareness about male infertility and sensitizing the community that men too can suffer infertility not only women, and call upon every husband to share the journey of infertility treatment with his wife,” said Dr. Kelej.
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany has been working at all levels to bring in a cultural shift in the African society and has been advocating for the women who aren’t able to bear children against the discrimination, isolation and violence.
“Art has the capacity and influence to make the problem felt, which further stimulates emotions and leads to engagement and action. Hence we used this medium to address the issue of infertility with a special focus on male infertility to encourage men to speak up about their infertility and join the treatment journey with their wives. I
personally believe that this song will add significant value to influence the culture change we are advocating,” explained Dr. Kelej.
About Merck Foundation: The Merck Foundation was established in 2017 to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology.
“Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to innovative healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with a special focus on women and youth,” reads in part a statement from the foundation.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign: In many cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and
ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.
As part of this campaign, Merck Foundation started Empowering Berna project in Africa to help childless and infertile women starting their own business and thus achieve financial independence and become stronger and happier. The project has benefited more than 1,000 women across the continent.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology and Fertility Training program, a three-month hands-on practical course to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and Asia.
“So far, the foundation provided for more than 50 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia. The Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized
fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.