Some African First Ladies have pledged to support campaigns that are focused at empowering women considered infertile in the continent with a growing population. 

The pledge was made by First Ladies from Senegal, Botswana, Republic of Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Ghana, Niger Sierra Leone and Zambia. 

The First Ladies became the Ambassadors of 'Merck More Than A Mother' campaign launched to eliminate stigma around infertility in their countries.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany conducted the 5th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” presided over by The President of The Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, and in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Senegal in Dakar.

During the Luminary, the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej, expressed joy that first ladies from African nations were interested in their plight.

"I am very proud that many First Ladies have partnered with Merck Foundation and accepted to be the Ambassadors of our unique and historic campaign "Merck More Than A Mother" to empower infertile women and eliminate the stigma around infertility in their countries."

The First Ladies that took the pledge were those of Senegal, Marieme Faye Sall, Botswana, Neo Jane Masisi, Republic of Burundi, Denise Nkurunziza, Central Africa Republic, Brigitte Touadera, Chad, Hinda Deby Itno, Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Niger Republic, Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio and Zambia, Esther Lungu.

After they were made ambassadors, the First Lady of Sierra Leone said: “I have heard and witnessed the stories of infertile women in my country, the attitude of the people towards these women is not progressive or informed".

For the First Lady of Zambia, her nation will launch 'Merck More than a Mother' campaign in the country. 

"There is a serious need for a cultural shift about infertility and its prevention, we will make this happen," she said.

All of them expressed happiness for being picked as an ambassador.

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The First Ladies also discussed the strategy to build healthcare capacity in the fields of cancer, infertility, diabetes and hypertension in their respective countries in partnership with Merck Foundation.

The First Lady of Botswana, Mrs Masisi, emphasised that "this campaign is very critical for my country and for Africa at large.

"I am fully supporting this initiative as the First Lady of Botswana. 

"I firmly believe in the importance to empower infertile women, who are mistreated and discriminated against in many cultures for not being able to have children and start a family," she added.

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