Malawian First Lady Aims to Break Infertility Stigma in Africa


The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. Prof. Gertrude Mutharika has launched a campaign in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Information to break the stigma associated with infertility in Malawi and the rest of Africa.

Mutharika, an Ambassador of Merck Merck Foundation, has linked up with the Foundation in an initiative tagged Merck More Than a Mother” to institute a Fashion Awards from Malawi and rest of Africa to create designs that could deliver strong and influential messages to empower women to say “No to Infertility Stigma.

In a statement by the Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Merck Foundation and President of Merck More Than a Mother to stressed the importance of the media training in fertility management said, “Designs ideas can also deliver messages to encourage men to speak openly about their infertility, because 50 per cent of infertility causes are due to male factor.”

The First Lady of Malawi, who said they are happy to host the media training program together with Merck Foundation stressed that the media plays an important role in sensitizing the society and help in breaking the stigma around infertility.

“It is important to initiate this important training program as I strongly believe that media has the capacity and ability to break the stigma around infertility in our communities in a regular and effective basis.” Dr Kelej added.

The training provided a great opportunity for the journalists working for Print, TV, Radio and Online media and journalism students to meet experts and also to network with each other and work as a unit to eradicate the stigma around infertility that has been a major cause of domestic violence in Malawi and the rest of Africa.

“The Merck Health Media Training program focused on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility and other health issues 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” Dr. Kelej said.

Meanwhile Merck Foundation has announced Call for Application for “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ for Malawi and rest of Africa. The “Merck More than a Mother” ‘Media Recognition Awards’ launched in 2017 is intended to stress 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.

The awards, for which US$1,000 has been put at stake for all categories including TV, Radio, Print and Online are open to journalists from print, online, radio and multimedia platforms from Malawi and rest of Africa with. Entries can be submitted till 31st December 2019.




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