BUJUMBURA November 18th (ABP) – The First Lady of Burundi, Mrs. Angeline Ndayishimiye participated in the 9th edition of the Merck Africa Asia Luminary Foundation organized in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) from November 15 to 16, 2022 so that African First Ladies partner countries of the Merck foundation, can exchange on strategies and the impact on the Merck foundation programs in the capacity building of the health professionals in the fight against the stigmatization linked to infertility and the support to girls’ education and an opportunity for Merck Foundation to celebrate its 5th anniversary.
On that occasion, which coincides with the 5th anniversary of Merck Foundation, the First Lady of Burundi, commended the partnership that exists between Merck Foundation, the Government of Burundi and the Office of the First Lady of Burundi, a partnership that has greatly of importance for Burundi, at a time when the Merck Foundation contributes to the training of specialists in various sector of health including embryology, fertility, oncology and others.
Mrs. Angeline Ndayishimiye, at the same time chairperson of the “Bonne Action Umugiraneza” foundation, pointed out that her foundation has put forward the sector of empowerment of women and girls, health and education. She also said that through this partnership, she is an ambassador for the “More than a mother” program, which fights the stigma associated with infertility. In this regard, she indicated that the stigmatization still manifests itself against infertile couples, especially among women. The first lady did not fail to point out that she initiated a project which aims to empower infertile families, hence the opening of a fertility center called “Umugiraneza”, the very first fertility center in Burundi.
According to her, that center will contribute to changing the mentality of the population about infertility, also specifying that there is a need for fertility specialists who will work there.
During that summit, the First Ladies of Burundi, Botswana, DRC, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Angola and that of the Central African Republic shared their experiences on the partnership with the Merck Foundation. They all affirmed that Merck Foundation programs have made a significant impact and touched people’s daily lives.
They praised the contribution of the “More than a mother” program, explaining however those women without children still suffer from discrimination and stigmatization. Their inability to have children results in isolation, physical and psychological abuse and others. According to them, the “More than a mother” program has made it possible to strengthen the empowerment of these women through access to information, health, change of mentality and economic support.
Regarding the “Educating Linda” program, the first ladies testified that this program has helped to support the education of the young girl, explaining that women and girls need to be supported, educated and protected to promote the socio-economic development of a country.
The First Ladies of Africa have mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down some projects. They also pledged to continue to be ambassadors for Merck Foundation programs.
The chairperson of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kalej took the opportunity to thank the First Ladies of Africa for their support of Merck Foundation programs, explaining that without them, said programs cannot make progress.