BUJUMBURA November 18th (ABP) – The First Lady of Burundi, Angeline Ndayishimiye has returned from Dubai, United Arab Emirates where she took part in the works of the 9th edition “Merck foundation Africa Asia Luminary” coupled with the celebration of the 5th anniversary from the Merck Foundation.
In her speech, the First Lady said that it is a meeting that is held every year, but that following the Covid-19 pandemic, that meeting had not been held for the last two years 2020 and 2021, specifying that Merck foundation last meeting with First Ladies was in Ghana in 2019 before the pandemic. She mentioned that the meeting was beneficial for several African countries including Burundi. She explained also that the First Ladies of Africa had the opportunity to share their experiences in the fight against the stigma linked to infertility especially in place of women, support for girls’ education, meeting challenges related to the empowerment of girls and women, community awareness on diseases including infertility, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and others. The First Lady also thanked the Merck Foundation for supporting the training of specialists in fertility, embryology, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
She reported that she is the ambassador of the “More than a mother” program, a program of the Merck foundation aimed at combating the stigma associated with infertility. She took that opportunity to explain to Burundians in general and to men in particular, that infertility is a shared responsibility, that infertility can be the man’s as well as the woman’s. She pointed out that in most infertile couples; the men refuse to go to the doctor for screening in order to blame the woman. She advised infertile couples to consult the doctor being together for information about their infertility.
Still on infertility, she pleaded for non-discrimination, the stigmatization of infertile women arguing the inability to have children. They are women of value who are capable and who can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country, hence the need to have respect for them. Parents are asked, in turn, to support the education of their children, especially that of their young girls to avoid early marriage which has many consequences.
As the Merck foundation supports talented young people in many sectors (cinema, song, film, or the media) according to the themes given by that foundation, including the “more than a mother” campaign, and awareness of different diseases at place of the communities, she asked the young Burundians, the media, the care providers, to participate in the competition organized by the Merck foundation to be beneficiaries of the opportunities offered by that foundation.
The First Lady of Burundi also informed that the President of the Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kalej has promised to visit Burundi next year to see how Burundi is promoting the education of young girls, and raising awareness. on various diseases including infertility, diabetes, hypertension, cancer at the community level.
Note that this conference which lasted two days from November 15 to 16, 2022 saw the participation of some First Ladies of Africa, health care providers, policy makers, academics, researchers and the media.