Merck Foundation calls for action together with 13 African First Ladies to Build Healthcare Capacity, Break the Infertility Stigma and Support Girl Education during their 9th Africa Asia Luminary
Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej and African First Ladies of Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Angola and Central Africa Inaugurate 9th Edition of Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com) Africa Asia Luminary 2022; African First Ladies marked together the 5th Anniversary of Merck Foundation and 10 year journey of their development programs by sharing the impact of their partnership programs with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity, support girl education and break infertility stigma; More than 10,000 participants including healthcare providers, policymakers, researchers, academia and media representatives from 70 English, French, Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries attended the hybrid Luminary – onsite and online to benefit from scientific and social sessions to address social issues and advance healthcare capacity in 32 critical and underserved medical specialties.
Merck Foundation reported the impact of providing 1470 scholarships to doctors from 50 countries in 32 critical and underserved specialties such as; Oncology, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Preventive, Endocrinology, Fertility, Embryology, Reproductive Care, Respiratory Care, Acute and Intensive Care, Neonatal Care, Pediatric Emergency, Advanced Surgery, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Palliative Care and Pain Management and more; Link to the Facebook live steam of Inaugural Session of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary & African First Ladies High Level Panel: http://bit.ly/3XE4EWp
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, conducted their annual conference, the 9th Edition of “Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary” on 15th & 16th November 2022, as a hybrid conference (onsite and online). The conference was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees, and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary, along with African First Ladies of 13 Countries;
- H.E. Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of the Republic of Botswana
- H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi
- H.E. Madam DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of the Democratic Republic of The Congo
- H.E. Mrs. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia
- H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of the Republic of Ghana
- H.E. Mrs. CLAR MARIE WEAH, The First Lady of the Republic of Liberia
- H.E. Mrs. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi
- H.E. Mrs. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of the Republic of Mozambique
- H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of the Republic of Namibia
- H.E. Dr. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone
- H.E. Mrs. MUTINTA HICHILEMA, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia
- H.E. Dr. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of the Republic of Angola
- H.E. Madam BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central Africa
Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “I am very proud to welcome my dear sisters, our Guests of Honor and Keynote Speakers, the First Ladies of 13 African Countries, who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother”. We are together celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Merck Foundation and 10th Anniversary of our programs since 2012 which aim to build healthcare & media capacity and raise awareness on a wide range of sensitive and critical social and health issues like Supporting Girl Education, Ending Child Marriage, Stopping GBV, Breaking Infertility Stigma, Ending FGM, Women Empowerment, and Diabetes Awareness.
“I am proud that Merck Foundation has provided till today, more than 1470 scholarships to young doctors from 50 countries in 32 critical and underserved specialties. This is a great milestone of transforming patient care landscape and leading Africa to a better, healthier and stronger future. I am happy to hear from my dear sisters their experiences and success stories in their respective countries, together we will be an important part of Africa’s legacy.” added Senator Kelej.
H.E. Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother said, ”Our partnership with Merck Foundation started in 2018 and since then, we have achieved very important milestones . Together with Merck Foundation, we launched a Poster Contest on “Stop GBV” initiative to end Gender-Based Violence in Botswana and Merck Foundation provided 20 Sewing Machines to the women groups who suffer GBV across Botswana to be able to generate monthly income. Moreover, more than 31 scholarships were provide for our local Doctors in Botswana in 32 different underserved and critical specialties such as: Diabetes, Endocrinology, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Respiratory Medicines, Acute Medicines and Sexual and Reproductive Medicines”.
H.E. Mrs. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother stated, “I am very proud of the partnership we have with Merck Foundation. Through our long-term partnership, 47 scholarships have been provided for our local doctors in critical and underserved specialities such as Diabetes, Oncology, Fertility & Embryology, Sexual & Reproductive care, I am very happy to share that we have succeeded to establish the first public IVF center in Burundi and Merck Foundation has provided training for the staff of Fertility Specialists, Embryologists and also technicians, who are the first local experts in my country, we are making history in Burundi.”
H.E. Madam DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of Democratic Republic of The Congo & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother said, “I would like to greatly acknowledge our valuable partnership with Merck Foundation that we started in 2020, and in a very short time, we have together achieved a lot. I am Proud to share that Merck Foundation have provided 77 scholarships to our doctors in the fields of Oncology, Fertility, Embryology, and Diabetes, which gave us our first Fertility specialists & Embryologists. Together, we also conducted the Online Health Media Training for our journalists to create a culture shift, to break the silence, and be the voice of the voiceless in order to raise awareness on sensitive social and health issues like Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM and Stopping GBV, Diabetes early detection and prevention”.
H.E. Mrs. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of Republic of The Gambia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother emphasized, “Our partnership journey is going from strength to strength as we have achieved many important and significant milestones since 2017, when I hosted Merck Foundation CEO and together, we launched the programs in my country. Through the partnership with Merck Foundation, 32 scholarships have been provided to young Gambian doctors in medical specialties. And, we are making history by providing training to first specialists in many fields such as Oncology, Respiratory, Fertility, Embryology, Reproductive Care, Diabetes, neonatal care, Endocrinology and more. It is history in the making.”
H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother emphasized, “I have been working closely with Merck Foundation to empower women in general and infertile women in specific, not only through creating a culture shift but by also making the fertility, sexual and reproductive care available for them and their husbands whenever they need it, nationwide. We have been able to provide more than 110 scholarships of 32 specialty training in the fields of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory, Acute Medicine, Sexual and Reproductive medicine, Embryology, Respiratory, Critical care, Psychiatry, General Surgery, Dermatology, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Gastroenterology, Neuroimaging for Research, Pain Management, Rheumatology, and Neonatal Medicine. All these fields are very critical to our country which I consider a great milestone to transform patient care landscape in my country”.
H.E. Mrs. CLAR MARIE WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother said, “I am very happy to work closely with Merck Foundation to empower infertile women through access to information, education, health and change of mindset. Merck Foundation also provided Sanitary Napkin Production Machine and raw materials, this will really help our young girls. I truly appreciate our partnership and acknowledge their smart and serious strategy to provide specialty training for our local doctors. Till today, 37 scholarships have been provided to our doctors in many critical and underserved specialties. This is a huge achievement for us, and we are definitely making history in Libera by training the first specialists in many medical fields such as: Infertility, Embryology, Oncology and Diabetes”.
H.E. Mrs. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother expressed, “I have worked closely with Merck Foundation since 2020 to define the right strategy to build healthcare capacity, empower infertile women, and support girl education in Malawi. With the support of Merck Foundation and their “Empowering Berna” program , 13 women have transformed their lives as they got a chance to establish their own small businesses so that they can be financially independent; and under the ‘Educating Linda’ program, we provided scholarships of 60 Malwian school girls to continue thier education till they graduate. Moreover, 33 scholarships have been provided to young Malawian doctors in 32 critical medical specialties such as Fertility & Embryology, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Oncology, Internal Medicine, Sexual & Reproductive Medicines, Ousmane emergency, respiratory care, acute care and more. My journey with Merck Foundation has definitely been amazing, very impactful and efficient”.
H.E. Mrs. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother emphasized, “I am very impressed with initiatives of Merck Foundation under the “More Than a Mother” Campaign. We recently conducted our First Online Health Media Training for our journalists to emphasize on the important role that media plays to influence our society to raise awareness on a wide range of social and health issues. The training session benefitted many of our journalists. Together with Merck Foundation, I am fully committed to working closely to introduce more such innovative ideas that engage different sectors to create a culture shift. Moreover, 14 scholarships have been provided to our doctors for the Online Diabetes Master course, a unique course specially developes in Portuguese language so that our local doctors can benefit from it, under Merck Foundation’s Nationwide Diabetes Blue Points Program”.
H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother said “I am glad to have this ongoing long-term beneficial partnership with Merck Foundation. I am particularly excited as Merck More Than a Mother Ambassador, as together we have been doing amazing work in the country to empower women living with infertility through access to information, education, information, change of mindset and economic empowerement. Moreover, 53 scholarships have been provided to young Namibian doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory Medicines, Acute Medicines and Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, and many more. For Namibia, 2.4M population, we will soon have more than 18 skilled and trained doctors nationwide to assist couples living with infertility or need any sexual & reproductive help, this will be a significant contribution towards improving women health in general and reproductive health in specific”.
H.E. Dr. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone stated, “Our partnership with Merck Foundation is since 2018 and we highly appreciate their programs. Together, we have provided 46 scholarships to our doctors from different provinces of Sierra Leone in the fields of Oncology, Embryology & Fertility, Sexual and Reproductive Health Medicine, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Orthopaedics, Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Clinical Psychiatry, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, Respiratory Medicine and Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine. I can proudly say that along with Merck Foundation we are making history in Sierra Leone by providing training for the First Oncologists in the country with the aim to establish the first skilled cancer care team who will be working in our new hospital, this will improve access to quality and equitable cancer care in the country. This is a huge achievement for us since we did not have any oncologists or fertility specialists and we have in general a very limited number of local specialists in the public sector before starting our partnership with Merck Foundation.”
H.E. Mrs. MUTINTA HICHILEMA, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia expressed, “I am very proud of our partnership with Merck Foundation. I am very impressed with ‘Educating Linda’ program to support girl education and provide scholarships to girls to complete thier education by providing thier tutiton fees, we have implememted this program in Zambia and provided 22 girls with scholarships to cover thier tuttion fees of nursing schools and health sciences univesities .this scholarship wil continue till they complete thier education successfully. I also very interested in “More Than a Mother” Campaign, this campaign is very critical for my country and Africa, at large. I am fully supporting this initiative as the First Lady of Zambia and as an african woman, it is very close to my heart. Moreover, together with Merck Foundation, we have provided 50 scholarships to our doctors from different provinces across Zambia and we will scale up this program under the leadership of my office”.
During her speech, H.E. Mrs. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of the Republic of Angola & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother stated, “I am looking forward to start the implementation of the ‘Educating Linda’ Program which aims to empower girls through education and end child marriage, this program is very close to my heart as I consider it one of my main objectives as the First Lady of Angola; and as an African woman, I strongly believe that girl Education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment. Moreover, I am very excited about the 8 important different competitions for our communities which are: Best Media, Song, Film and Fashion awards with the aim to encourage Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields to play their important role in sensitizing their communities about many critical social and health issues.”
H.E. Madam BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central Africa & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than A Mother emphasized “I greatly value our partnership with Merck Foundation that is since 2015, to support us to advance and build the healthcare capacity in our country by providing scholarships to our local doctors in various medical specialities. Together, we worked on “Empowering Berna” program where we established small businesses for infertile and childless women and trained them to run their businesses so they can have income and become independent and have purpose life. Also, as a part of Merck Foundation’s Education Linda program, we will be providing scholarships to 20 under-privileged schoolgirls from our country to support girl education. Moreover, 5 scholarships have been provided to our doctors by Merck Foundation so far in Oncology and Diabetes”.
The 9th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 was streamed live on the social media handles of Merck Foundation (http://bit.ly/32YFKpv) and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej (http://bit.ly/3ATPaEd).
Link to the Facebook live steam of Inaugural Session of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary & African First Ladies High Level Panel: (https://bit.ly/3XE4EWp)
Merck Foundation is transforming the Patient care landscape and making history together with its partners in Africa, Asia, and beyond, through:
• 1470 + Scholarships provided by Merck Foundation for doctors from 50 Countries in 32 critical and underserved medical specialties.
Merck Foundation is also creating a culture shift and breaking the silence about a wide range of social and health issues in Africa and underserved communities through:
• 2200 + Media Persons from more than 50 countries trained to better raise Awareness about different social and health issues
• 8 Different Awards Launched annually for best media coverage, fashion designers, films, and songs
• Around 30 songs to address health and social issues by local singers across Africa
• 8 Children’s Storybooks in three languages – English, French, and Portuguese
• Pan African TV Program “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV Program addressing Social and Health Issues in Africa through “Fashion and ART with Purpose” Community
• 1000+ Girls from 15 African countries supported through scholarships or school items, annually.
• 9 Social Media Channels with more than 5 Million Followers
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.
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The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please visit Merck-Foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com); Facebook (bit.ly/32YFKpv), Twitter (bit.ly/2TeOQNj), Instagram (bit.ly/3g6OYr3), YouTube (bit.ly/3zc3up1), and Flickr (bit.ly/2Tay0Pu).