Merck Foundation and African First Ladies mark “World Heart Day 2021” by training future cardiovascular preventive experts in Africa


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Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej with Merck Foundation Alumni

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany marks World Heart Day 2021 in partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Medical Societies, and Academia, through their long-term commitment towards building Cardiovascular preventive care capacity in Africa, Asia and beyond.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark ‘World Heart Day’ in a very unique way. How? By providing scholarships of one-year Post-Graduate Diploma and two-year Master degree in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine to 100 doctors from 25 countries in Africa and Asia.  No one on the earth can imagine how proud I am that we have so far provided speciality training to more than 1200 doctors in very critical and underserved specialities, not only cardiovascular but also Oncology, Diabetes, Reproductive care, Respiratory, Intensive care, Urology, Gastroenterology, Orthopedic, Pediatric Emergency and Neonatal care, psychiatry, pain management, surgery and more. It is the highlight of my career and my life”.

So far, Merck Foundation has provided scholarships for Cardiovascular care speciality training to about 100 doctors from the following 25 countries: Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan Tanzania, UAE, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Israel Hagbevor, Merck Foundation alumnus from Ghana says, “I always wanted to excel in my field and help patients suffering from heart diseases and other related issues. I would like to thank Merck Foundation for making this dream a reality. I successfully completed the two-year Master course in Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, the skills I gained from this program are tremendous and have helped me to gain confidence to treat cardiovascular patients. I applaud Merck Foundation for supporting doctors like me who are eager to learn and serve their communities”.

Merck Foundation Alumni

Merck Foundation continues to build healthcare capacity in African, Asian, and Latin American countries with the aim to provide access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions. More than 1200 doctors from 42 countries have benefitted from Merck Foundation scholarships in various critical and underserved fields such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Embryology & Fertility speciality, Rheumatology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Advanced Surgical Practice, Pain Management, Urology, General Surgery, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Ophthalmology, Internal Medicine, Trauma & Orthopedics, Neuroimaging for research Biotechnology in ART and more.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “During Coronavirus pandemic, it has been more important than ever to build healthcare capacity and train specialized doctors. In some of these countries, they have never had even one oncologist, for example. They may only have a general practitioner. We simply made history in these countries such as The Gambia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Botswana, Namibia, Chad, Niger, Guinea & Liberia, not only in various specialities like Oncology, Hypertension, Diabetes, Fertility, Respiratory, Pediatric, Orthopedic, Psychiatry, Intensive care and many more”.


Watch Videos of Merck Foundation Alumni

Testimonial of Dr Joel Allotey Ghana winner of Merck Hypertension Award

Testimonial of Dr. Sofia Nepembe - Namibia, Merck Foundation Alumni Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine
Testimonial of Dr. Israel Hagbevor the winner of Merck Hypertension Award from Ghana
Testimonial of ‘Merck Hypertension Award’ winner Dr. Gloria Asamoah from Ghana

Testimonies of Ghana Alumni Winner of Merck Diabetes & Hypertension Award 

Testimonial of ‘Merck Hypertension Award’ winner Dr. Florence Akumiah from Ghana

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About Merck Foundation

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 to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker