Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany conducted the 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” in Accra, Ghana on 29th & 30th of October 2019. It was co-chaired by H.E. Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo, The First Lady of Ghana and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.
During her welcome speech, H.E. Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo, The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “I am delighted to host this prestigious conference in Ghana. I am very proud of our partnership with Merck Foundation through which we have been able to achieve many outcomes in the country for the social and economic welfare of our people. through my ambassadorship of Merck More than a Mother, we have been able to launch many initiatives to sensitize our communities about the sensitive issue of infertility and the stigma attached to it”.
Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej welcomed the First Ladies and Ministers of Health, Gender, Information, Education and Science from more than 20 African Countries.
“Together with First Ladies of Africa and Ministers of different sectors, we worked on a strong strategy to build healthcare capacity and provide the necessary training to establish a strong platform of experts in Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer and Fertility care in their countries and define interventions to break infertility stigma. During the Luminary, the Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Committee (MFFLI) was also conducted to discuss different topics of discussion, follow up, monitoring and decisions.” Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized.
Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG emphasized, “Merck Foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity and improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the continent.”
During Merck Africa Asia Luminary, more than 1000 Healthcare providers, policy makers, academia, researchers and health media from Sub- Saharan Africa, more than 50 English, French and Portuguese speaking countries benefitted from valuable educational and social development sessions by top International experts in Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology, Women health and Cardiology with the aim to raise health awareness and improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare capacity and improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions across the continent.
The Merck Oncology Fellowship Program, a key initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program, focuses on building additional capacity through medical education and training.
The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.
Merck Oncology Fellowship Program focuses on building professional cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa and Developing countries. The program provides One-year fellowship program at Tata Memorial Centre – India, One and half-years Oncology Fellowship programs at University of Malaya – Malaysia, Two years Oncology Fellowship Program at University of Nairobi – Kenya and Two years Master degree in Medical Oncology at Cairo University – Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.
Launched in 2016, over 70 candidates from more than 25 African countries have rolled in the Merck Oncology Fellowship Program. The program will continue to build cancer care capability in African countries such as Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.