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H.E. REBECCA NAA OKAIKOR AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central Africa Republic; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. AISSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad; Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation; H.E. MACKY SALL, The President of Senegal; H.E. MARIEME FAYE SALL, The First Lady of Senegal; H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia; H.E. DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany conducted the 5th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” under the patronage of The President of The Republic of Senegal, H.E. MACKY SALL and The First Lady of Senegal, H.E. MARIEME FAYE SALL, and in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Senegal.
During his closing speech, The President of Senegal, H.E. MACKY SALL emphasized “I am very glad to be hosting this important conference in Senegal, as it will help explore many partnership opportunities and introduce new frameworks for health capacity building in collaboration with our Ministry of health and Merck Foundation and other ministries of health and healthcare societies & institutions across the world. I personally urge African Governments to prioritize investing on healthcare capacity building.”
Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG emphasized, “Merck is a value driven company and that is one of the reasons why Merck through its foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity and improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the continent.”
Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej welcomed the First Ladies as Merck Foundation Partners and Ambassadors of Merck More Than a Mother to empower infertile women and build healthcare capacity in their countries.
“We are very proud to have the support of H.E. MACKY SALL to enable us to realize our vision to change the landscape of Cancer care in Senegal and rest of Africa“, Dr. Kelej added.
The First Lady of Senegal, H.E. MARIEME FAYE SALL delivered the keynote speech at the Luminary and welcomed the partnership with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity, along with
H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana;
H.E. DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi;
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central Africa Republic;
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad;
H.E. REBECCA NAA OKAIKOR AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana;
H.E. AISSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger;
H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone and
H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia;
They have also announced their acceptance to be appointed as Ambassadors of Merck More Than a Mother campaign to empower infertile women and break the stigma of infertility in their countries.
During the conference, Merck Foundation also celebrated two important occasions; the 350th Anniversary of Merck and the 1st Anniversary of Merck Foundation.
A high level Ministerial panel also took place.
During the panel ministers of health discussed “Building Fertility and cancer care capacity and breaking the Infertility Stigma in Africa and Asia”. The panel discussion involved Hon. Abdoulaye Diouf SARR, Minister of Health and Social Action, of Sénégal; Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Health of Uganda; Hon Dr Alfred Madigele - Minister of Health and Wellness, the Republic of Botswana, Hon. Dr. Idi Illiassou Maïnassara, Minister of Public Health, of the Niger; Hon. Aziz Mahamat Saleh Ahmat, Minister of Public Health, of Chad; Hon. Dr. Pierre Somse, Minister of Health and Population, Central African Republic; Hon. Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie, Minister of Health and Sanitation, of Sierra Leone; Hon. Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister for Health and Social Welfare, of The Gambia, Hon. Mariama Sylla, Minister of Social Action, Child and Women promotion, Guinee, Hon. Aboubakar Assidikh Tchoroma, Minister of National Education and Civic Promotion, Chad and Hon. Julieta Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, of Namibia .
More than 58 countries participated in the Luminary, the list included: Angola, Benin, Burkina Fuso, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, Canada, Cameroon, Cambodia, Chad, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Congo, Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Egypt, France, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Conakry, Gabon, Ghana, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia Mali, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Malaysia, Nigeria, Niger, Nepal Philippines, Rwanda, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Togo, UAE, Uganda, USA, UK, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Dr. Rasha Kelej discuss with Sunita, Gambian singer about new Merck More than a Mother song.
Dr. Rasha Kelej discusses with Sunita, a Gambian singer about the new song of Merck More than a Mother. Why she created it and what inspired her.
This song is part of Merck More Than a Mother Movement to discover African talent that can produce songs and music to address the stigma of infertility to sensitize African communities to say No for infertility stigma and to raise sadness about women’s role in society which beyond only being mothers. “Women are more than Mothers? Women are not baby making machines, they are productive members in society whether they are mothers or not, moreover men equally cause infertility like women so why are they are solely been blamed for it.” Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation & President of Merck more than a Mother
Glimpse of Merck Africa Asia Luminary 2018
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About Merck Oncology Fellowship Program
The Merck Oncology Fellowship Program, a key initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program, focuses on building additional capacity through medical education and training.
The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.
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 degree in Medical Oncology at Cairo University - Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.
Launched in 2016, over 43 candidates from more than 21 African countries have rolled in the Merck Oncology Fellowship Program. The program will continue to build cancer care capability in African countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, CAR, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
In many cultures, childless women suffer discrimination, stigma, and ostracism. Their inability to have children results in great isolation, disinheritance, and assaults. “Merck More Than a Mother” empowers such women through the access to information, health, change of mindsets and economic empowerment.
As part of this Campaign, we started “Empowering Berna” project in Africa to help childless and infertile women starting their own business and thus achieve financial independence and become stronger and happier. The project has benefited more than 1,000 women across the continent.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and Asia.
Merck Foundation provided for more than 84 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 29 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Merck Foundation is making history in many African countries where they never had fertility specialists or specialized fertility clinics before ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ intervention, to train the first fertility specialists such as; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Niger, Chad, and Guinea.
Merck Foundation plan supported the establishment of the first public IVF centers in Ethiopia and Uganda through providing the clinical and practical training necessary for their staff. Merck Foundation also plans to support the establishment of the first public IVF in Tanzania soon.
“Merck more than a Mother” launched in 2015, is a program of the Merck Foundation, the foundation drives many of our initiatives and programs in the area of build health care and research capacity and improves access to equitable healthcare solutions.
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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 www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.
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