German Pharmaceutical Launches Campaign to Build Fertility Care Capacity in Kenya

Prof. Koigi Kamau (University of Nairobi), Hon. Joyce Lay (Member of Kenyan Parliament) and Belen Garijo (Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) launched the More than a Mother campaign in Nairobi
Prof. Koigi Kamau from the University of Nairobi and Joyce Lay a Member of the Kenyan Parliament looking on as Belen Garijo, a member of Merck KGaA’s executive board in Darmstadt signed the agreement at the More than a Mother campaign launch in Nairobi

On Tuesday renowned German pharmaceutical, chemical and life science company, Merck, launched the “More than a Mother” campaign as part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program.

The campaign will first be implemented in Kenya, in collaboration with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, and progressively rolled out in further African countries.

“Providing access to infertility care is important, but it is even more important to intervene to decrease stigmatization and social suffering arising from this condition,” said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare at Merck, during her meeting with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association to kick off the campaign.

Prof. Koigi Kamau, University of Nairobi stressed: “Through the “More than a Mother” campaign, we will challenge the perception about infertile women, their roles and worth in society, both within and beyond the medical profession in order to achieve any systemic shift in the current culture of gender discrimination in the context of fertility care.”

Through this campaign Merck, a pioneer in reproductive health, will address together with local stakeholders, the key challenges that are associated with resource-constrained settings such as prevention of infertility, education and self-development, regulation of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), geographic barriers, reproductive rights and over-population and limited resources arguments. A particular emphasis will be put on prevention programs, as infertility is caused by infections in over 85% of women in the Sub-Saharan region, compared to 33% worldwide.

This comes a few days after the launch of the Kenya Fertility Association, which started a program of enhancing access to assisted reproductive technology such as In Vitro Fertilization, IVF, for affected couples in the country.

All this follows after Joyce Lay and Millie Adhiambo, both Kenyan MPs brought a bill to the floor of the Kenyan parliament seeking to change the laws that regulate adoption and IVF in the country.

At the launch, Joyce Lay, Member of the Kenyan Parliament, emphasized: “In order to improve access to safe and effective fertility care, a discussion with the relevant authorities will be needed to discuss the strengthening of infertility services, education, auditing, regulation, community awareness and the need to integrate them in programs which already exist in the local health infrastructure.”

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