Testimonials of Merck Foundation Alumni

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Dr. Nihad Salifu, Ghana

Paediatric Medical Oncology Fellow | 2017
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Ghana has a population of about 26 million with a cancer rate of 109 per 100,000 people, and yet there is no single trained medical oncologist in the whole country. The duty of medical oncologist is handled by other specialties such as radiation oncologist, general surgeons, genitourinary surgeons, and haematologists among others. This makes the care of patients very difficult because these doctors are not formally trained in medical oncology.” Says Nihad Salifu.

In addition, there are only three paediatric oncologists in the whole country, and our cancer cure rate is very low in children- it is about 20% when cure rates are approaching 80% in many developed parts of the world.” Added Salifu.
Salifu is one of the first candidates of the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program says,” This huge human resource deficit in childhood cancer care is the main motivating factor for me applying to be considered for this training. I will benefit from this great opportunity being given to our country by Merck Foundation. The Merck Fellowship Program will add to the few paediatric oncologists in Ghana, to ease the workload, improve quality of patient care, add to the number of voices advocating for these patients and to the number of trainers of health workers delivering services including awareness creation. It will also strengthen the team effort in the area of research and improve the paediatric cancer registry.”

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Dr. Christina V. Malichewe, Tanzania

Adult Medical Oncology Fellow | 2017
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Cancer is a growing concern in Tanzania, and limited facilities and few healthcare providers against the high rising number of patients diagnosed at advanced stages pose a great challenge to a developing country like Tanzania. Unfortunately, there are only two medical oncologists in a country of approximately 50 million people, one studied in Italy and another in China. We need more specialized oncologists in this field. Thank you, Merck Foundation for starting this program!! However, it is only through unique opportunities such as the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program we can make the needed change in our societies to improve patient access to cancer care.” Christina Malichewe said. 

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Dr. Abdulkadir M, Ethiopia

Paediatric Medical Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

“I am a faculty member of Addis Ababa University working at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital department of paediatrics and child health hemato-oncology unit. I am general paediatrician serving kids suffering from cancer with no additional formal training in paediatric oncology. Merck Africa Fellowship Program will help me to update and upgrade my knowledge and skill in Paediatric Oncology; this helps me to give the appropriate and improved quality of care to cancer patients and helps us to expand the service.
 
Ethiopia is a country with approximately 100 million population. Currently, the country has three oncologists that serve the stated population. As I am faculty in the university, it will help the country to improve training program by strengthening and expanding Paediatric oncology fellowship program; this will increase the number of paediatric oncologists and improve access for kids with cancer to get timely improved and appropriate care.”

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Dr Bonginkosi Shadrack Shoba, South Africa

Medical Oncology Fellow | 2017
Merck Foundation Alumni

“South Africa has no more than a mere handful of oncologists, all of them in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. There are no dedicated oncology centres even in those big cities. There is currently one public stem cell centre in Cape Town that caters to three patients at a time. Sad but true, a diagnosis of any form of cancer including early stage Hodgkins lymphoma in South Africa carries a swift, cruel death sentence, particularly so if you happen to reside in a rural area, as about 80% of South Africa’s population does. Therefore Merck Oncology Fellowship Program at the University of Nairobi will help me to transform the lives of those black, poor, rural young folk I watch dying mercilessly, avoidable deaths from even easily treatable Hodgkins lymphoma in my country.”

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Dr. Mohammed Ezzi, Kenya

Medical Oncology Fellow | 2017
Merck Foundation Alumni

“The Kenyan government has made Cancer a national disaster, setting up regional cancer centres, and buying equipment worth billions of shillings. However, the human resource capacity required for managing cancer is lagging behind. We need the personnel – the Oncologists to complement efforts by the government and other organizations so that we can effectively tackle this menace.

The two year Merck Oncology Fellowship program in partnership with the University of Nairobi is the first Medical Oncology Fellowship program to be conducted in Sub Saharan Africa. It is the beacon of hope for all Africans.”
 

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Dr. Adane Nigussie Robi, Ethiopia

Palliative Care Fello | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

“I was delighted to know about and to be part of the fellowship program on palliative care that Merck foundation is planning to give. After completing the fellowship program, I will be the person with palliative care training in my hospital, we have only three oncologists, and only two of them are giving palliative care to patients. I have a plan to start a palliative care training after completing my fellowship here. Palliative care is not only about resources, above anything it needs a trained healthcare professional. About this Merck Foundation is taking the pivotal role in my country, Ethiopia.”
 

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Dr. Angela McLigeyo, Kenya

Medical Oncology Fellow | 2017
Merck Foundation Alumni

“The need to improve the quality of cancer care in Kenya is critical. Especially in the setting of the growing cancer burden in Kenya and the high morality rates that accompanies it. Also, the majority of the cancer patients in Kenya have to travel out of the country to seek treatment due to the high local treatment costs and the shortage of specialists.

The ‘Merck Oncology Fellowship Program’ in partnership with the University of Nairobi, aptly suits our need of increasing the number of trained oncologists in the continent.”
 

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Dr. Damas Dukundane, Rwanda

Adult Medical Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

Dr. Damas explained “When the opportunity of Medical oncology fellowship was announced at the Health Ministry of Rwanda, I immediately showed my interest in it.  Cancer care in Rwanda is still a scarcity, for slight over 11 million of Rwandans, we have probably only one Oncologist. Cancer is still a death sentence for many Rwandans who cannot access the necessary cancer care that is often sought abroad.”
 
Not all solutions will come in one day, but for my patients and myself, this is a hopeful step towards achieving adequate cancer care in Rwanda and the region. I have a lot of expectations from the program and what to achieve after the training. I hope to become a leader in cancer treatment, researcher, and advocate for accessible treatments especially for underprivileged communities at risk.”

I sincerely appreciate the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship as one of the many Merck Foundation initiatives to touch lives around Africa and in the world. 
 

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Dr Josephine Augustinus, Namibia

Medical Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

"Namibia population is 2,5 million, and more than 3000 new cancer cases get diagnosed on a yearly basis. I am confident that by the end of the one-year fellowship, I will be better equipped to manage cancer patients through preventions, early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care. I sincerely want to thank Merck Foundation for this great program that will transform the lives of cancer patients and their families. Please continue your great work."
 

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Dr Sekitene Semei Buswambaza, Uganda

Medical Oncology Fellow |
2018 Merck Foundation Alumni

Coming from a humble background, and having worked at Uganda Cancer Institute since 2010, initially as a volunteer, I have enjoyed helping our cancer patients many of whom come from less privileged communities.

Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship program is significant to me because it is giving me an opportunity to learn and improve the way I have been managing cancer patients.

A bond with Merck Foundation as an alumnus is going to keep me updated with new developments in cancer care and exposure to a variety of learning seminars and workshops. All these and other benefits mean that my patients in Uganda will get better services and my dream of extending quality care to those in need of it will become a reality.
 

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Dr. Paul Kamfwa, Zambia

Gynecologic Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

I will be the first gynecologic oncologist in Zambia, thanks to Merck Oncology Fellowship Program. The Fellowship will help me to receive extensive surgical exposure to gynecological procedures, chemotherapy and learn the new and advanced techniques of radiotherapy”.
 
Zambian women will have a quality and continuity of care since surgery and administering of chemoradiotherapy can be facilitated by the same person in their home country.”

 

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Dr. Alemayehu Natnael, Ethiopia

Adult Medical Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Currently, there is not even a single oncologist in the Southern part of Ethiopia with an estimated population of 18 million. There are only three oncologists in Ethiopia for about 100 million population. Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program is a Golden path to tackle the growing challenge posed by Cancer in Africa. By completing this fellowship program, I feel that I will also be a critical asset to my country and my people to address their suffering.”
 

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Dr Musana Othiniel, Uganda

Gynacologic Oncology Fellow | 2019
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Uganda as a country lacks a national cancer screening program yet cervical and breast cancer remains the most common cancers and account for the highest proportion of cancers requiring radiotherapy. The country also has a shortage of competent gynae-oncologists, researchers and educators in Uganda, hence limiting access for women with cancer to screening, diagnostic and treatment services.
The Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program will expand my knowledge on the selection of appropriate clinical and research methodology used in gynecologic-oncology. I hope to improve my skills in carrying out appropriate and evidence-based clinical diagnosis and treatment, but also empower me with excellent clinical education skill to mentor other young health workers.”

 

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Dr. Justin Mulindwa, Zambia

Paediatric Medical Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Currently, I am based at the Cancer Diseases Hospital which is the only Centre providing Paediatric Oncology Care for children across a country of an estimated 15 million people with an estimated 45% being in the Paediatric age group of up to 15 years old. Therefore, Merck Oncology Fellowship Program is very important for Zambia.  It provided me and other doctors with a unique training opportunity that will enhance Paediatric oncology care, pediatric oncology research and teaching in the country.”
 

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Dr. Kabisa Mwala, Zambia

Surgical Oncology Fellow | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

“I am a general surgeon deeply interested in Surgical Oncology because of my passion for helping patients ravaged by cancer especially, women with breast cancer. 
 
The Merck Surgical Oncology Fellowship will enhance my knowledge and skills in the field of Surgical Oncology to better contribute to managing cancer patients in Zambia. My country and our patients will benefit from this much-needed skill and knowledge I will gain from this fellowship.” 

 

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Dr Louise Mapleh Kpoto, Liberia

Merck Fertility Training Program, India | 2019
Merck Foundation Alumni

I am grateful and feel privileged with a sense of fulfillment and a dream come true for undergoing Merck foundation Fertility training program and become the first fertility specialist in Liberia.

This program has prepared me to fill the gap and therefore provide the critically needed help for infertile couples for the first time in their home country. For my patient the opportunity to have accessible and affordable local fertility care gives them hope and security.

Merck Foundation together with our Liberia First Lady are making history in our country by providing training for the first embryologists and fertility specialists in Liberia. It is a dream come true.

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Dr. Nowiah Gorpudolo-Dennis, Liberia

Merck Fertility Training Program, India | 2019
Merck Foundation Alumni

Merck Foundation training in fertility care will greatly enhance and sharpen my clinical skills in providing the accurate diagnosis of infertile couples. This is critical to alleviate the mental stress and financial burden associated with multiple incorrect diagnostic procedures, which tends to delay the initiation of evidence-based treatment protocols. The effective treatment of infertile couples will significantly improve the value of their contributions to the community. Merck Foundation together with our Liberia First Lady are making history by providing training for the first fertility specialists and embryologists in Liberia. I am one of them.

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Philip Baysah, Liberia

Merck Embryology Training Program, Manipal University, India | 2019
Merck Foundation Alumni

Don't stop acquiring higher education. Merck Foundation has made my dream of becoming a trained embryologists  came  to life, Merck Foundation together with our Liberia First Lady are making history by providing training for the first fertility specialists and embryologists in Liberia.

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Dr. Patience Monica Mator, Liberia

Merck Embryology Training Program, India | 2018
Merck Foundation Alumni

I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by Merck Foundation to be the first embryologist in Liberia. I worked as a clinician and came across couples who have struggled to have a child but to no avail. Being in an African society especially Liberia, couples are stigmatized for not having a child. So, my dream was to advance my studies and help couples in need of having a child. Now I am glad that through this knowledge obtained from Merck Embryology/Fertility Training Program, couples can now have the opportunity to get local fertility care to overcome the stigma they have faced over the years.

Through Merck Foundation program in partnership with Liberia First Lady , Our country for the first time has their own  local clinical embryologists and fertility specialists .
 

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Dr. Peva F.Gbagornah, Liberia

Merck Foundation Nationwide Diabetes Blue Point program.
Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes
Merck Foundation Alumni

The prevalence of Diabetes in Liberia is increasing on a daily basis. I can better serve our pa-tients with the increased knowledge gained from the one year Diabetes Diploma provided to me by the "Merck Foundation Diabetes Blue Point program" in partnership with Liberia First Lady. Liberia does not have a specialized diabetes center. After I have graduated from this diploma, the government has decided to find a place suitable to open a diabetes center for me to be able to cater to patients living with the diabetes condition in this nation.

The diploma has a significant impact on my professional career, it has improved my treatment approach to patients. I am the first person in Liberia to have obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Diabetes Management. I am so glad that Merck Foundation has made this possible. I assure them that I will continue to provide quality care to people suffering from these preventable dis-eases. In addition, I'll also start to give health talks where I share information related to pre-vention and early detection. This will improve the heath of our communities in Liberia.

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Dr Lughano Ndovie, Namibia

Advanced ART and Fertility Specialists Training
Merck foundation Alumni

What a great honor and privilege to be part of such a prestigious Fertility training program provided by Merck Foundation in partnership with Namibia First Lady. It is a dream come true to be a Merck Foundation alumnus and first trained Fertility specialist in public sector of Namibia which helps me to build a better future and improve lives of my community.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. My clinical skills have greatly improved, and I am confident that I will now be able to provide much-needed access to equitable and quality assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in the public sector closer to my community. Scaling up the training nationwide will reshape the landscape of Fertility care across Namibia.

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Sr. Hileni Samuel, Namibia

Merck Foundation Nationwide Diabetes Blue Point Program.
Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes
Merck foundation Alumni

We don't have enough specialists for Diabetes care in Namibia. I am the first registered nurse to get a Diabetes Master Course as a specialty. I feel honored and privileged to be awarded by Merck Foundation in partnership with Namibia First Lady. The course has helped me to gain the necessary skills towards Diabetes and Hypertension care. It made a great impact not only on my career but also on my community because this course is necessary to render equitable effective and quality Diabetes and Hypertension care in public sector.

Now I am able to cater more to the needs of my patients, who are happy with the better information and care they get. With the inception of the course, I have been touring Namibia sharing information on Diabetes and Hypertension care. With this course, I am much more equipped to deal with the patients. I am really grateful from the bottom of my heart for Merck Foundation for how they have supported me and other healthcare providers to devel-op a strong platform of specialists in Namibia. We really need this.

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Dr. Sofia Jarombwereni Natshikare Nepembe, Namibia

Merck Capacity Advancement Program

Postgraduate Diploma in Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine

In Namibia, we don't have many studies which look into the prevalence of Hypertension and Diabetes. From 2012 to 2016, about 53% of the deaths were attributed to non-communicable diseases and of this 21% was attributed to Cardiovascular diseases and 4% to Diabetes. Ongoing research is still needed. Most of our Hypertension and Diabetic clinics are run by Nurses and Medical Officers. We are definitely in high need of specialists in the field of Diabetes and Hypertension. I felt privileged and excited to be nominated for one year online Diploma Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine provided by Merck Foundation in partnership with Namibia First Lady. From day one, this Post Graduate Diploma has greatly broadened my under-standing of the cardiovascular diseases and eventually help me in treating the patients better. I am now able to come up with a proper management plan for the Hypertensive and Diabetes patients.

One thing I must say is that do not underestimate the power of an online course. It is not as easy as it sounds. It requires dedication and effort. It was an experience I cherish, and I am very proud of. The support from Merck Foundation was really great. They are always there to support us if we have any questions. Providing more doctors with these Diplomas will help to improve access to nationwide Diabetes and Hypertension care through strong platform of local specialists in Namibia. Dr. Sofia Jarombwereni Natshikare Nepembe

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Meko Kenkpen, Liberia

Merck Embryology Training Program
Merck Foundation Alumni

I am very grateful to the Merck Foundation for the great opportunity given me to be a part of this unique Merck Foundation Embryology training program to become one of the first Fertility care team in Liberia. I want to say to the Merck Foundation and our First Lady that you have not just educated and trained me as a Clinical Embryologist but you have also saved a nation, a country where the knowledge, treatment and prevention of infertility is very limited and women are mostly accused day after day. I am back to Liberia to support infertile couples and to educate my people, through radio talk shows and community group discussions with the aim to break infertility stigma. And by also going to various high schools and Universities to educate students as well. Meko Kenkpen

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Mrs. Yolande Ndemanou Feudjio, Cameroon

MARS Best African Women Researchers Award winner
Oncology Research Fellowship Graduate
Merc

“I am very proud to win the second award of MARS Best African Women Researcher award. During my cancer research training provided to me by Merck Foundation as my award,  I’ve learned many diagnostic methods that will allow me to implement them in Cameroon, for a better investigation of cancer cases and to use better treatment methods to reduce the high number of mortality rate due to cancer.”

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Mr. Dehie Dana Mahamat, Chad

Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program
Laboratory Technology Training Graduate
Merck Foundation Alumni

“L am very happy to one of the selected candidates for Merck Foundation oncology fellowship program which will help us to improve cancer care of our patients in Chad. Thanks to the Merck Foundation and Our First Lady who provided us with this great opportunity to be part of the first trained cancer care team in Chad”

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Mr. OBAME ONDO Juste Alain, Gabon

Merck Africa oncology Fellowhsip Program
Oncology Nursing
Merck Foundation Alumni

“The Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program was an opportunity for me to discover the different international nursing techniques and methods applied in medical oncology for patients and their families.

This oncologist nursing training is very critical for cancer care in Ethiopia since  the care provided by oncology nurses is not yet very well developed there.”

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Dr. Abdoulaye Keita, Senegal

Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program
Pathology Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Cancer remains a major public health problem in Senegal and the rest of Africa. Its care is multidisciplinary. It is very important to focus on prevention because "prevention is better than cure". The early diagnosis and immediate treatment are also very important because they avoid complications.

The Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship Program will enable us to improve the early diagnosis and proper management of Cancer and to increase our experience as a pathologist In our countries we will try to empower our patients to benefit from this learned experience.

Many thanks to the Merck Foundation and Ministry of Health of Senegal for giving us this great opportunity.”

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Dr MAMADOU OUMAROU Ramatou, Niger

Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program
Medical Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni

“Once back to the National Center for the Fight Against Cancer (NPLC) in Niamey, Niger , we will do our utmost best to apply the knowledge gained during this one year Medical Oncology Fellowship Program in India, in order to improve the management of cancer patients in Niger.

First of all, I thank the Merck Foundation and our First Lady for giving us the opportunity to be among the beneficiaries of this valuable program which aims to reshape the cancer care landscape not only in Niger but across Africa.

This program is very important for our country because it allowed us to strengthen our knowledge in medical oncology in general and more specifically to familiarize ourselves with the new therapeutic techniques such as targeted therapies and immunotherapy that are not yet available at home.

We will seize every opportunity to share with our colleagues this knowledge and specially to teach young medical students who come to do the internship in our center.

Furthermore, the relationship we built with our trainers and professors will allow us to discuss the difficult cases of our patients, even when we are back in our country, in order to offer them the best treatment options they can have.

Thank you, Merck Foundation for my training and the scholarships you provided to my other colleagues to form the first multidisciplinary cancer care team in Niger”.

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Dr. Sira Ownibingire, Tanzania

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Oral and Maxillofacial Oncology Surgeon Fellow

“I am an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and an Academician working at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, and at the National Teaching Hospital in Tanzania, I am proud to have been one of the African healthcare providers who benefited from Merck Foundation oncology fellowship program. In Tanzania, we have a significant number of head and neck cancer patients and the incidences have kept on increasing as it is for the other cancers. However, there are very few head and neck oncology surgeons to serve population of about 55 millions in the country. Early detection has remained a challenge and treatment is less effective mainly because of lack of appropriate infrastructures and inadequate qualified oncology surgeons.

My training on head and neck oncology will benefit the patients especially those with oral and pharyngeal carcinoma, cutaneous head and neck cancers and other malignancies. Regarding my role as a trainer, the exemplary training I received at TMC will benefit, and actually has already started benefiting, the trainees in oral and maxillofacial surgery, otorhinolaryngology, and dentistry. I have extra information to share with the fellow surgeons and academicians on the current techniques of cancer treatment learned at TMC and how to improve our oncology practice. This training has also helped to have the solid foundation in further training in the field of head and neck cancer. This enabled me to fulfil objectives beyond my expectations.

I sincerely appreciate the strong strategy that Merck foundation following to increase the limited number of skilled and trained oncologists in Africa. *As I read, more than 80 doctors from 27 countries were trained in world class training institutions in Egypt, Kenya, Malaysia and India,  to be the first  oncologists in their countries in different disciplinary*. And I am one of them.”

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Dr. Beimy Pe Neabei, Guinea

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Pediatric Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni

“The Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship is very important to me and my country. It enabled  me to make good improvement  in the cancer management .

The challenge in Guinea is the lack of awareness for early diagnosis, the need to reduce the drop-out rate, make cancer drugs available, provide training for medical staff and establish oncology clinics across the country. Therefore, thanks for Merck Foundation and our First Lady for organizing this oncology fellowship training for me and my other colleagues to be the first oncologists in Guinea.

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Dr. Sylvestre Bazikamwe, Burundi

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Merck Foundation Alumni

“I am back in my small and beloved country Burundi. Merck Foundation Fellowship in Gynae Oncology at TATA Memorial Centre, India of One year duration will help my patients and my trainees in Kamenge University Hospital significantly. I have begun to organize my Gynaecology Onco operating room and I’m training my team to start as early as possible surgical procedures to save the lives of our women in Burundi. We’ll perform early detection and management of Gynae cancers. I'm trying to share acquired knowledge and skills with my colleagues at the University of Burundi. The gap is huge, we need to have a DMG (District Medical Group) in the main specialties so that we can deal with cancer care in our hospital in a multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, I’m very grateful to Merck Foundation and our First Lady and Ministry of Health for starting this strong strategy to fill this gap and focus on training local medical staff so they can provide quality cancer care for our communities for the first time in our beautiful Burundi. This is a great transformation of our public healthcare sector”.

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 Dr. Tommy koroma, Sierra Leone

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master degree in medical oncology at NCI, Cairo Un

My name is Dr. Tommy Koroma, a Sierra Leonean Medical Doctor currently a Medical Oncology Resident , National Cancer Institute, Cairo University. Sierra Leone is one of the least under developed countries in west Africa. The incident of cancer is on the rise in Sierra Leone  ranging breast, prostate, GIT cancer to name  a few and there is currently  no established oncology treatment Centre and also  a trained Medical oncologist in the country. I want to  thank Merck Foundation and our First Lady for giving me this opportunity through the Merck Africa Oncology scholarship program  to be  trained as the First Medical Oncologist in Sierra Leone. We are making history together and I am proud of this. Upon successful completion of my Oncology Training, I promise to return to Sierra Leone to serve my people whom are in dire need of quality and affordable cancer care.
 

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Dr. Nadye fatou sow, Senegal

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master degree In Pediatric Oncology at NCI, Cairo

“It's a great honor and a chance to be a part of Merck Foundation Oncology fellowship Program. The foundation is following and supporting us at every step of this three year master degree in paediatric oncology. We're not only getting the opportunity to be well trained at world class training institute at NCI, Cairo University   but also we're acquiring a huge medical, social and cultural experience in Egypt. Sharing these experiences with fellows from other African countries makes it even more special. This training will help improving our patients access to cancer care in Senegal through increasing the human resource capacity knowing that Senegal only has 2 paediatric oncologists. It will also bring new perspectives and approaches on how to improve our current health care system with respect to  paediatric oncology in Senegal. “

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Dr. Joseph Siame, Zambia

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master Degree In Medical Oncology at NCI, Cairo Un

“I may not give accurate statistics of Oncologists in Zambia, but it is enough  to say that Merck Foundation has provided training to our first multi-disciplinary Oncology team of seven Zambian doctors at Tata Memorial Hospital  in India.  Therefore, I am very proud to be selected by Zambia First Lady and Ministry of health to be the 8th Zambian doctor to benefit from Merck foundation scholarship of three year master degree of medical oncology at a very prestigious cancer institute, NCI in beautiful Egypt, our second home now.  When I complete my training it will be a big contribution not only to my career development, but also to cancer care delivery system  in my country . This contribution will be timely for Zambia with only one cancer center  in Lusaka is caring for a population of approximately 17millions . Because of this patients are made to travel long distance at very late stage of their  cancer, this ultimately leads to increase in abandonment rate of treatment since patients can’t manage to fund frequent mobilization  to follow up. I would recommend this training to anyone wants to train to be a medical oncologist at one of the world class cancer treatment center, national cancer institute, NCI, Cairo, Egypt.Thank you to Merck foundation for this opportunity. Keep up the good work.” 
 

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Dr Babalanda Joan Peace, Uganda

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master Degree In Surgical Oncology at NCI, Cairo U

“I must say I’m proud to be part of the Merck foundation Oncology Fellowship Program at one of the best cancer training Institutes worldwide, NCI in Egypt. This training for me and my country is timely mainly because it has come at a time when there is a significant increase in the cases of cancer yet cancer related morbidity and mortality remains high. More Specialized cancer care in Uganda is still needed  in all areas mostly surgical  oncology. Ugandans are obliged to seek cancer surgery abroad at a very high cost if they can afford. Further still the prognosis of cancer patients managed in Uganda has remained poor. Cancer care on the whole requires a multi-disciplinary approach. I therefore believe with this training I will be in a better position to ensure that cancer care is approached with a more holistic and comprehensive approach. Having specialized surgical oncology in public sector will greatly reduce the need for cancer surgeries abroad hence reduce its cost. Further still I will ensure that the skills I will have acquired in cancer surgery are transferred broadly in order to improve access to specialized surgery nationally. Eventually, cancer care services in Uganda will improve considerably and clinical outcomes and prognosis enhanced nationwide. .

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Dr Adolphe MUHIRE , Rwanda

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master Degree In Medical Oncology at NCI, Cairo Un

“I am very delighted and honored to benefit from this great opportunity of Merck Foundation Scholarship of Master degree of Medical Oncology   at one of the best training sites worldwide , The National  Cancer Institute (NCI ) in Egypt. 

This Program will allow me, after completion to provide proper management for cancer patients in Rwanda and the whole East Africa region. Especially there's still a big gap of cancer care infrastructure, lack of skilled personnel hence poor outcomes plus high mortality rate in Africa. 

Therefore, I am very thankful to the Merck Foundation and the Government of Rwanda for this great opportunity, that I strongly believe will help me make a positive impact on cancer care. “

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Dr. Deddeh E P Supuwood, Liberia

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master Degree In Medical Oncology at NCI, Cairo Un

"My first encounter with cancer was in 2001 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. For eight years I watched her struggle with it and she finally succumbed to it in 2009. Living and growing up in a postwar country like Liberia, where access to quality healthcare is a major challenge, I've seen so many others unsuccessfully battle with various types of cancer, most importantly because there is no oncologist to properly manage them. The opportunity given me by MERCK Foundation is not only a dream come through for me, but also for my country Liberia because a few years from now, Liberia) will boast of her own oncologists for the first time. It is history in the making with Merck Foundation and Liberia First Lady  to reshape and advance  not only our cancer care but healthcare in general.” 

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Dr. Iddrisu A. Rashid Timtoni, Ghana

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master Degree In Medical Oncology at NCI, Cairo Un

“It is estimated that there will be 15 million cases of cancer annually by the year 2020, 70% of which will occur in developing countries. Ghana as a developing country with a population of about 31 millions has only two national cancer centers in the country that offer comprehensive cancer services including radiotherapy. These centers are in two tertiary hospitals, both in the southern part of the country, making it difficult for patients with cancer in the northern part of the country to access these two centers which lead to partial and complete abandonment of treatment hence very poor outcomes. Unfortunately, medical oncologists who play a central role and coordinating patient care are very few  in Ghana with none in the northern part of the country, and therefore an urgent need to train doctors to fill this gap . Therefore Merck foundation program to provide scholarship for master degree in medical oncology in Egypt was the successful strategy to address this huge challenge not only in Ghana but in the rest of Africa. This will empower me with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage cancer patients, especially  in the areas completely deprived of such specialized care. I will play an advocacy role in prevention and early detection of cases as well as partnering with colleagues and other health agencies to set up comprehensive cancer treatment centers in the northern part of the country to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care. Also, by contributing to the area of research in oncology, which is at an infancy stage in Ghana, the country will benefit greatly, as the findings will be utilized to adapt cancer care protocols to our local needs in our country, Ghana. THANK YOU, MERCK FOUNDATION.”

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Dr Sam Sama Banya , Siera Leone

Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship program
Master Degree In Surgical Oncology at NCI, Cairo U

“There is no oncology center, no trained personnel in oncology before today in my country, Siera Leone . As one of the doctors from my country who benefited from the Merck Foundation Scholarship for master degree in medical oncology , I feel honored and fulfilled as after my training program my country will be proud to have the first trained and qualified surgical oncologist through the Merck Foundation. Breast Cancer for example is very common and is killing most women in my country like most countries Africa. Sierra Leonean women will now have the opportunity to get a doctor who will give them the information on breast cancer ranging from screening, early diagnosis and planned management. I must thank the Merck Foundation and our First Lady for making such history in my country by training cancer care teams in all subspecialties.  “.