‘Stop Mocking Infertile Couples’

First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo (middle) receiving an award from prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Merck Foundation, with them is CEO Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

First Lady, Rebecca Akufo Addo, has called for a stop to the practice where couples are mocked and shunned for their inability to have children.

According to her, it is everyone’s responsibility to empathize with and empower infertile couples rather than blaming them.

She said the fight against infertility stigma can only be won through a change of mind-sets, and advocacy that influences national policies on fertility.

She added, “… let us be minded of this fact; blaming, mocking and shunning of perceived infertile couples must stop.”
Mrs. Akufo Addo made the call when she formally welcomed First Ladies from Africa and Asia, to the opening of the 6th edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Accra.

The conference which also marks the second (2nd) anniversary of Merck Foundation is being co-chaired by Mrs Akufo-Addo and CEO of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kalej.

The two-day event brought together ministers of health, gender, information and education from African countries to deliberate on infertility issues.

Technical experts, policy makers in addition to discussing educational social and technological development in the management of fertility, oncology, women’s health, diabetes and cardiology are expected to lend support to the formulation and implementation of policies and decisions on fertility issues.

Expressing delight that African First ladies are part of the great movement to address infertility in Africa, Mrs. Akufo-Addo said “this is a movement of empathy, respect, empowerment and recognition of which your collective involvement is imperative to its success.”

“Together we can make a difference, by building health care capacity, improving access to equitable health solutions and breaking the stigma of infertility in Africa and Asia,” Mrs. Akufo-Addo said.

She said she was optimistic that after five years of providing the platform for brilliant, engaging scientific discussions that have raised awareness and collaboration around Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology and other health issues, the 6th edition of the Merck Luminary would end with the formulation and planned implementation of programmes that will address the challenges of infertility.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board, and Board of Trustees of Merck Foundation in his remarks hinted of more partnerships within the continent to ensure Africans despite their child bearing live a happy and fulfilling life including infertile couples.

He expressed gratitude to the First Ladies who have taken up the task to empower women in Africa.

“Continue to use the power and Influence to support women in Africa because we will support you, go with you and help you,” he said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri