BUJUMBURA February 24th (ABP) – The Merck Foundation chaired by Dr. Rasha Kelej in partnership with the First Lady of the Republic of Burundi, Angeline Ndayishimiye, ambassador of Merck Foundation’s ‘More Than a Mother’ Campaign, organized on Thursday February 23, 2023, a training for Burundian media professionals to explain to them how they can raise awareness in Burundian society on certain themes, especially that of breaking the stigma associated with infertility.
In her opening address, the Chairperson of the Merck Foundation, first thanked the First Lady of the Republic of Burundi for her good collaboration with the Merck Foundation in relation to the promotion of the “More than a mother” campaign, ” Educating Linda ” all being Merck Foundation’s campaigns. She also indicated that the objective of that training is to emphasize the important role that the media plays in influencing society in order to create a cultural change with the aim of breaking the stigma associated with infertility, supporting girls’ education, empowerment of girls and women in education. The media must also exploit topics related to sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage.
Mrs. Rasha Kelej also specified that Burundian journalists must sensitize the population on how to prevent diabetes and high blood pressure by doing early detection and adopting a healthy lifestyle. She took the opportunity to announce a call for application for the Merck Foundation Media Awards 2023 with respect to the topics listed above.
The obstetrician gynecologist and graduate of the Merck Foundation, Dr. Gilbert Nibitanga, made a presentation on “The prevention of infertility” and on “Male infertility”. He said that among the main causes of infertility are untreated non-communicable diseases, clandestine abortions, stress, untreated infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea in women, HIV AIDS, industrial and environmental toxins, consumption of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, obesity, extreme thinness, poor nutrition, pesticides and others. Men should also avoid exposure to near high temperatures which can affect sperm production and mobility. Dr. Nibitanga did not fail to point out that in men, most causes of infertility are not preventable.
He advised couples to adopt strategies that can increase the chances of giving birth. He cited the limitation of alcohol consumption, avoiding drugs, tobacco, avoiding toxic and environmental exposure, adopting a balanced diet, maintaining a normal weight, going to consult the doctor as soon as possible in case of infection, doing physical activity on a regular basis, avoiding stress, avoiding very tight underwear in men and others.
Since infertility is not a stigma, infertile couples should seek information and get tested together, explaining that infertility affects men and women on equal terms. Men are also encouraged to support their wives. Media professionals are also invited to cover topics aimed at changing the mindset and breaking the stigma linked to infertility, explaining that infertile couples suffer from social pressure.