The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany organized their first ‘Merck Foundation Health Media Training’ drive this week in Monrovia, Liberia in partnership with Clar Weah, the country’s First Lady.
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. In 2017, Merck generated sales of €15.3 billion in 66 countries.
The pharmaceutical company’s training program is a part of ‘Merck More than a Mother’, a community awareness Program and was organized for the first time in Liberia for local media representatives and media students.
“We welcome this important initiative of Merck Foundation in our country. Media, if guided properly can bring about a huge change in the current scenario where women solely blamed for infertility. The stigma around infertility needs to be eliminated,” said Liberia’s First Lady, who is also Ambassador of the Merck More Than a Mother campaign.
“I am delighted to initiate this important training session as I strongly believe that the media plays a significant role to influence our society to create a cultural shift. It has the capacity and ability to break the stigma around infertility in the community,” commented Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation and President of Merck More than a Mother.
The training was addressed by media industry stakeholders, including international faculty and infertility experts.
Moreover, it provided a great opportunity for the journalists to meet the experts and also to network with each other and work as a unit to eradicate the stigma around infertility in Liberia and the rest of Africa. It was attended by journalists working for Print, TV, Radio and Online media and journalism students.
“The Merck Health Media Training program focused on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility in Africa. It was designed to benefit the journalists in understanding the infertility issues in African communities and to learn the best media practices to cover such issues” added Dr. Kelej.
Merck Foundation also announced Call for Application for “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ for Liberia and rest of Africa. The “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ were launched in 2017 with the aim to emphasize the role of media in enhancing the public engagement and understanding of infertility stigma and the need to change its social perception in African communities.
Since its inception, the Merck Foundation has provided clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 30 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.