In a bid to engender positive family values and reduce stigma associated with infertility, the Merck Foundation in collaboration with the Rebecca Foundation yesterday launched a 20-page book to increase advocacy on infertility.
Specifically targeted at the youth, the book which uses fiction to tell “Kofi’s story”, is expected to educate students on some facts about infertility, its prevention and management while instilling in them values of love and respect for all.
It formed part of initiatives under the ‘Merck more than a mother’ project being rolled out on the African continent to break issues of stigma and discrimination associated with infertility.
The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, speaking at the launch of the book, expressed the need for increased awareness among “our communities with special focus on the youth (boys and girls) through this story, to know how to prevent infertility, how to protect themselves and also how to value themselves whether they are mothers or not”.
Women are more than mothers, they are productive members of the society and must be respected, that is why I believe we must prepare our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect,” she stressed.
Sharing a story of three separate couples who suffered sterility and how they managed the challenge, Mrs Akufo-Addo believed in-depth knowledge on the problem could enable couples lead productive lives regardless of not having a biological child.
The First Lady observed that “Kofi’s story is direct in its simplicity. We learn about stopping stigma, causes and prevention of infertility and treatment options available.
“It also teaches us that our value is measured in our humanity and what we contribute to humanity no matter how small, so, do not allow your worldview to be shaped by infertility. Every woman is more than a mother and every man is more than a father,” she stated.
Chief Executive Officer of the Merck Foundation, Dr Rasha Kelej, said it was time Africans created a “cultural shift among the young people to grow responsibly to solve societal problems”.
The book, she said, was one of the foundations interventions to break stigma around infertile women and raise awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility.
“It is important for parents and caregivers to start teaching respect and nurturing empathy from a very young age. We should teach boys these qualities at their schools because they need the same guidance as girls,” she said.
Dr Kelej believed “Kofi’s story” will teach “children to respect and value all people regardless of being parents or not. It will also help preparing our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect. Everyone deserves respect and love, and should never ever be overlooked, or abused even if they are childless”.
About 20,000 copies of the book have been printed for distribution in Ghana, and expected to be handed out to various schools across the country, with the collaboration of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH