Merck Foundation to partner with Angola First Lady and Ministry of Health to build healthcare capacity and empower girls in education in Angola


French Version /  Portuguese Version

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation with The First Lady of Angola, H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO during her visit to Angola.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany underscored their long-term commitment to build healthcare capacity and empower girls during a high-level meeting held between Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej and The First Lady of Angola, H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO.

Watch the Video - Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation meets First Lady of Angola, H.E. Mrs. Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explained, “It gave me a great honor to meet the First Lady of Angola, H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO last week to discuss with them the long-term partnership to empower women and girls in education. I was very inspired with the passion the First Lady has to motivate and empower girls to complete their education and reach their potential. I am looking forward to work closely with her to tailor our program “Educating Linda” for Angola”.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation addressing medical students at Agostinho Neto University in Angola

H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of Angola shared “It is great initiative by Merck Foundation to empower girls in education. This is Very critical for our countries to eliminate child marriage. We welcome the initiatives for Merck Foundation to our country.”

Moreover, Merck Foundation started long term partnership with the Ministry of Health to build healthcare capacity in fields of diabetes, fertility and cancer care.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation with Minister of Health of Angola, Hon. Dr Silvia Lutucuta

Minister of Health of Angola, Hon. Dr Silvia Lutucuta emphasizes “We are excited to partner with Merck Foundation and are happy with their strong commitment and will provide all the required support for the efficient execution of their programs in the country”.

Dr. Rasha Kelej has also visited Agostinho Neto University in Luanda to meet Prof. Nicolau Santos, Dean, School of Medicine along with his academic staff and Medical Undergraduate and Post graduates students to explore their challenges and needs to improve access to equitable and quality healthcare solutions in Angola.

“I am happy and excited to announce the first on line diabetes management master program in Portuguese Language which is specially developed for African Portuguese speaking countries Angola and Mozambique. Merck Foundation is making history again. I am so proud of this unique initiative.” concluded Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation with medical students at Agostinho Neto University in Angola


About Merck Oncology Fellowship Program

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’s degree in medical Oncology at Cairo University - Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.

Launched in 2016, over 80 candidates from more than 26 African countries has 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, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

About Educating Linda Program

‘Educating Linda’ is a project which has been launched to help young girls who are unprivileged but brilliant to continue their education. The spirit of the project is to provide an opportunity to such girls to pursue their dreams and reach their potential through access to education. It has been seen that many girls drop out of school due to lack of basic necessities such as fees and uniform. Merck Foundation will be supporting education of some of the highly performing girls by providing scholarship and grants that can cover school fees, school uniforms and other essentials including notebooks, pens and mathematical instruments, so they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams. Educating Linda program will be contributing to the future of these girls as part of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign.

Merck Foundation plans to roll out the program in countries in partnership with the African First Ladies who are members in Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI). We will work closely with our partners from community to government level to help raise awareness and create a culture shift that value and support girls’ education.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck more than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAPAIGN, such as;

  • Merck More Than a Mother media recognition award and health media training
  • Merck More Than a Mother fashion award
  • Merck More Than a Mother film award
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country

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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.

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