Merck Foundation partners with the University of Malaya to build healthcare capacity in Africa and Asia with a special focus on Diabetes, Oncology and Infertility


Front Row(Left to right): Dr Rasha Kelej-CEO Merck Foundation, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board, E Merck KG, YBhg. Datuk Ir. (Dr.) Abdul Rahim Hashim, Vice-Chancellor, University Of Malaya, YBhg. Dato’ Professor Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. Back Row(Left to Right) Ms. Ee Boon Huey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Malaysia, Dr. Mary Yap Kain Ching, Deputy Minister of Higher Education Malaysia, Prof Dr. Tunku Kamarul Zaman Tunku ZainolAbidin, The director of University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC)

  • From India to Malaysia, Merck Foundation continues their collaborative efforts to build healthcare capacity in Africa and Developing Countries.

  • Merck Foundation (MF) announces the “Merck Diabetes Award” and “Merck Hypertension Award” 2017 winners from Malaysia.

  • Over 30,000 medical graduates from more than 35 countries have benefited from the foundation’s partnership with universities and governments of many nations across Asia and Africa.

  • In 2017, over 100 candidates from Africa and Asia received their fellowship and training in Oncology, Diabetes and Hypertension, and Infertility

Merck Foundation (MF), a non-profit company and subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany, and the University of Malaya (UM), Malaysia’s oldest and most established institution of higher learning, signed a Memorandum of Understanding today aimed at providing fellowship training for post-graduate medical trainees from Africa and other developing countries.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by YB Datuk Dr. Mary Yap Kain Ching, Deputy Minister of Higher Education Malaysia.

Professor Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board of E-Merck KG and Chairman of Board of Trustees of Merck Foundation said, “We are delighted to partner with the University of Malaya, to provide clinical training and fellowship programes to young healthcare practitioners from Africa and other developing countries.  

“I strongly believe that building capacity is the right strategy to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare since the lack of professional skills is a key challenge in these nations.  We have successfully conducted many educational and fellowship programs in both Africa and Asia since 2012 and we will continue our long-term commitment through our Merck Foundation.”

The MF-UM collaboration formalised today will facilitate academic support to post-graduate medical trainees in the fields of diabetes, oncology and infertility.


Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation explained, “This partnership is essential for the sustainability of Merck Foundation programmes – especially ‘Merck Cancer Access Program’ and ‘Merck More Than A Mother’ – that serve as platforms to train oncologists and embryologists to improve access to fertility and cancer care in Africa and Asia. I personally believe through this partnership we will be able to make a significant impact on societies and scientific communities in both continents.”

YBhg. Datuk Ir. (Dr.) Abdul Rahim Hashim, Vice-Chancellor, University Of Malaya, remarked that UM readily welcomed the collaboration with MF. He said, “Many of our own medical professionals have, in the past, benefited from training in the United Kingdom and Australia.  It befalls us to reach out and help others now.

“For UM, the partnership with MF reaffirms our standing and role as Malaysia’s oldest and most established higher learning institution. It also contributes towards our nation’s aspiration of gaining global prominence as an international education hub with a difference.”

YBhg. Dato’ Professor Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya said, “We possess the requisite experience.  Our medical faculty has a well-established post-graduate medical training programe that has already produced an international cohort of graduates from Indonesia, India, Mauritius, and the Maldives.

For MF, the collaboration exemplifies an effort to help improve the quality of healthcare in underserved communities around the world.  The Merck Capacity Advancement Programe has benefited over 30,000 medical graduates across Africa and Asia. 

In 2017 alone, MF initiated the following activities in partnership with academia, ministries of health and the offices of First Ladies in more than 35 countries:

  • Merck Cancer Access Program:

Over 30 African physicians received oncology fellowship programmes spanning one to two years, in a bid to help increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.

  • Merck More Than A Mother:

More than 30 candidates received three-month hands-on training to be embryologists and fertility specialists in Africa and Asia to improve quality, regulated and safe fertility care in developing countries.

  • Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards:

Over 50 medical postgraduates will receive a one-year online diploma in diabetes or preventive cardiovascular medicines, as part of the effort to establish a platform of diabetes and hypertension experts in Africa and Asia.

The awards encouraged participants from African and Asian medical universities to propose innovative concepts for improving early detection and prevention of diabetes and hypertension in their countries. The awards featured their own themes, namely, “Every Day is a Diabetes Day” and “What the Healthy Heart Needs”. 

UM post-graduate clinical masters student, Dr. Fu Mei Sian, won the Merck Diabetes Award 2017. MF will be enrolling her in a one-year online post-graduate diploma course in diabetes offered by the University of South Wales, UK.

Dr. Fu remarked, “I will also have the opportunity to apply for a study grant from Merck Malaysia on the concept paper that won the award. I hope I will be able to publish the study in the future and encourage more people to use the mobile application that is intended to help prevent diabetes complications.”

Dr. Siti Nurbaya Shahrir, who holds a doctorate in Public Health from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia won of Merck Hypertension Award 2017.  She declared, “I am sure the online post-graduate diploma course in preventive cardiovascular medicine will enable me to better serve my country by developing innovative solutions to curb hypertension.”

Ms. Ee Boon Huey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Malaysia, expressed that the MF-UM collaboration exemplifies Merck’s belief in working together for common good.

She explained, “Merck has been around for 350 years.  Today, we are a truly global company, with 50,000 employees in 66 countries working on breakthrough solutions and technologies.  However, we are committed to broadening our relationships and matching our resources with the strengths of others so that together, we may change the world.”

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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.

About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.