The first couple on Tuesday addressed the Sixth Edition of Merck Africa and Asia Luminary Conference in Accra with a call on society to work together to provide solace and hope to infertile couples.

They said there was hope for infertile couples and asked society to stop the stigmatisation.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said there was no need to stigmatise couples with infertility problems, especially when women were seen as the cause of infertility in marriages.

He said the World Health Organisation indicated that 186 million people experienced primary and secondary infertility, with its attendant stigma, especially in many African countries.

The President said it was sad that many of such marriages ended in abuses and divorce, while a number of women were disinherited of their property and treated as outcasts, adding that those acts were unfortunate.

He said attaining the Sustainable Developments Goal (SDG-5) on Gender Equality and Empowerment of all Women was critical in achieving all the 17 SDGs through the support of society.

The President urged couples to seek early treatment for infertility challenges through appropriate counselling and better treatment solutions.

He urged African presidents to incorporate infertility prevention and treatment in the development of maternal and reproductive healthcare and policies of their countries.

Mrs Akufo-Addo, on her part, admonished society against mocking and stigmatising infertile couples and rather empathise with them by supporting them to access the needed help and counselling.

“Let us be mindful of this fact; blaming, mocking and shunning of perceived infertile couples must stop.”
“It is everyone’s responsibility to empower infertile couples, fight against stigmatisation, change mind-sets, influence national policies on fertility and build fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries”.

The Sixth Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary and the Second Anniversary of Merck Foundation is being hosted in partnership with the Ghana Government and the Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck, a German multinational, pharmaceutical and live sciences company.

It aims at improving the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology.

Mrs Akufo-Addo and Dr Rasha Kelej, the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, are co-chairing the two-day conference on the theme: “Together we make a Difference”.

The conference was expected to contribute to improving access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions and building healthcare capacity in Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer, Research, Fertility Care and Women’s health.

More than 1,000 participants made up of the first ladies of Malawi, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Burundi and Central African Republic are attending in addition to other Health, Gender, Education and Information Ministers of State and other health professionals and stakeholders.

The Merck Africa Asia Luminary, is gradually becoming an important event on the global scientific calendar. For five years the Luminary had provided the platform scientific discussions that have raised awareness and collaboration around on Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology and other health issues.

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