The Merck Foundation, a philanthropic Organisation, in partnership with the First Lady of Ghana, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has launched a Media award scheme to fight infertility stigma in society in Accra.
The ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Awards scheme, which was launched by Dr Rash Kelej, the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, also announced the opening of the application period for Ghana and the rest of Africa.
Dr Kalej, who is also the President of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ initiative, said the winners would be announced during the sixth edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary, the annual conference of the Foundation to be held in October 2019 in Accra, Ghana, which she would co-chair with the First Lady Mrs Akufo-Addo.
She urged the media professionals from both the print, online, radio and multimedia platforms, to take advantage of the opportunity and send their applications, showcasing their works, to raise awareness about infertility prevention and to break the stigma in Ghana and the rest of Africa.
The applications must be submitted on or before June 30, 2019, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org,.
The prize money for the awards ranged from $1,000 for the Print, Online and Radio groups to $3,000 for the Multimedia category.
“I strongly believe in the critical role media play to sensitize communities. Therefore we created these media awards last year with the aim to recognize the outstanding journalistic coverage that enhances the public engagement and understanding of infertility, breaking its stigma and emphasizing the need to change the social perception of it in African communities,” Dr Kelej said.
She indicated that for better reportage, the Foundation in collaboration with the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), would be organising the Merck Health Media Training in February 2019 for media representatives, focusing on the international standards and media ethics for reporting sensitive issues like infertility.
The training, she said, was therefore designed to benefit journalists in understanding the infertility issues in African communities and to learn the best practices to cover such issues.
Dr Kelej stated that the Foundation had also provided technical training to four candidates from Ghana, under its ‘Merck Embryology Training Programme’, to help build capacity in the field of infertility, and was hoping to scale up the umbrella of the long term partnership with the First Lady of Ghana.
“Merck Foundation had also empowered many infertile women, both in Ghana and across Africa by building a productive life for them, by setting up businesses of their choice for them, as women were much more than just mothers.”
Both Madam Cynthia Morrison, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, lauded the initiative by the Merck Foundation, and encouraged journalists to take advantage of the opportunity offered to improve and intensify advocacy and public education on issues around infertility, to help eliminate stigma, and also address the causes at their early stages.