Merck Foundation announced their long-term partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, during their first Video Conference Summit of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI). The MFFLI VC Summit was attended by 13 African First Ladies to discuss their joint efforts to build healthcare capacity and strengthen the response to COVID-19 in the country and Africa at large.
Appreciating the programs of Merck Foundation, H.E. Mrs. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi emphasized, “I am very happy to be appointed as Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother. I will be fully supporting this campaign as The First Lady of Malawi, as a woman, this cause is very close to my heart. I will work in collaboration with our ministries to sensitize our communities, particularly in rural areas to better understand infertility hence to break the stigma around infertile women and to empower them through access to information, education, health, and change of mindset. Moreover, I am looking forward to building healthcare capacity in the country, through the programs of Merck Foundation, as it will contribute to the social and economic development of Malawi”.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother expressed, “We are very happy to partner with The First Lady of Malawi, and underscore our long term commitment to build healthcare capacity, empower girls in education and break the stigma of infertility in Malawi. We are also very proud to appoint The First Lady of Malawi as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother. We are going to work very closely with her and the Government of Malawi to make history together by providing training for the First Specialists in many fields such as; Fertility, Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, Oncology, Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Respiratory and Acute Medicines with the aim to improve access to quality and equitable health care in the country”.
Merck Foundation will continue their important program “Educating Linda” together with Malawi First Lady to sponsor the education of 20 best performing girls in their secondary schools till they graduate.
“I truly believe that Education is Power and educating girls is empowering them to make their own decisions, stand up for their rights, and help them to access economic opportunities”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej, One of 100 Most Influential Africans (2019, 2020).
Merck Foundation will enroll the selected Malawian doctors by the First Lady office and Ministry of Health to their various training programs for the next 10 years.
Moreover, Merck Foundation also celebrated three winners from Malawi for their “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards from Southern African Countries to raise awareness about COVID 19 in the country.
About Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Summit – MFFLI
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted their first Video Conference Summit of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) to define and follow up on different joint programs that aims to advance public healthcare sector capacity and strengthen the response to COVID 19 in their countries.
The MFFLI VC Summit 2020 was hosted by Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother and One of 100 Most Influential African (2019 & 2020) and attended by 13 African First Ladies, who are Ambassadors of Merck More than a Mother; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia; H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia; H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H. E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of Angola.
The MFFLI VC Summit, special edition aims to share experiences, discuss challenges, and define solutions to further strengthen healthcare capacity to better respond to this global pandemic in Africa.
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