By Tabora Bojang
The First Lady of the Gambia Fatoumatta Bah Barrow through her foundation dubbed FaBB in partnership with Merck Foundation is set to award scholarship to four (4) Gambian doctors to pursue training in Gynecology and infertility care in India and Egypt respectively.
She made the revelation at the launch of infertility and awareness campaign program in the Gambia called “Merck more than a mother” held in Sanyang village Kombo South.
The campaign initiated by the Fatoumatta Bah Barrow foundation FaBB with support from Merck Germany is aimed to raise awareness on infertility and empower infertile women through the provision of access to information, education and communication interventions for safe and effective fertile care.
The beneficiaries are doctors Massirehnding Njie, Momodou Nyassi, Omar Sanyang and Fatoumatta Jaiteh.
Speaking at the event Madam Bah-Barrow said raising awareness on infertility and breaking the common misconceptions that often lead to violence, stigma and discrimination against women who are considered infertile is key in addressing the challenges that women are faced with.
The new special Ambassador for Merck foundation added that the “MERCK more than a mother” infertility campaign in the Gambia will usher in a cultural shift that will not only provide the requisite health and social services but will also embolden and empower the women concerned for reintegration within their societies and also provided with necessary tools to become self-sufficient.
Infertility has caused sorrow and great worry for many couples in the Gambia and currently the infertility prevalence in the Gambia stands at 14%.
“This crusade will help in shaping the overall understanding of the challenges that infertility poses to our development agenda as a nation. It is very clear that if we hope to tackle infertility in women and men, we must use approaches that address the cultural and structural drivers that increase female stigmatization and discrimination,” she said
She called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders, Government, traditional leaders, health and social workers to be able to change the mind sets that impede infertile couples from getting the necessary treatment and support.
Madam Bah-Barrow added that the government also has an important role to play in terms of adopting the right policies to enhance access to regulated safe and effective fertility treatment and care for all Gambians.
The event also witnessed donation of cash amounting $500 to five women by Dr. Rasha Keleji, the CEO of Merck Foundation meant to support infertile women.
Merck Foundation is a philanthropic organisation that aims to improve the health and well being of people and advance their lives through science and innovation.