Merck Foundation partners with First Lady to build healthcare capacity, break infertility stigma

H.E. CLAR WEAH, the First Lady of Liberia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother (R) with Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother during a committee meeting. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

MONROVIA, Liberia – Merck Foundation to train Liberian doctors in the fields Cancer, Diabetes and Fertility Care to build healthcare capacity in the country;

The foundation appoints the First Lady of Liberia as Merck more than a Mother Ambassador to empower infertile women in the country; Merck Foundation to launch the “Merck More Than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and the first Health Media Training to eliminate infertility stigma; Merck foundation will provide one and two year oncology fellowship to doctors to improve access to equitable cancer care in the country.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany together with The First Lady of Liberia, H.E. CLAR WEAH and Ministry of Health will launch new programs to build equitable healthcare capacity and break the infertility stigma in the country.

H.E. Clar Weah, the First Lady of Liberia and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “We welcome Merck Foundation to launch our joint programs which are going to be very beneficial for our people. Their initiatives are very innovative in nature and will help changing the healthcare scenario of our country”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “We are very happy to underscore our long term commitment to build healthcare capacity in Liberia. We are also very proud to work closely with H.E. First Lady of Liberia as the ambassador of Merck more than a Mother campaign to raise awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and define interventions to break infertility stigma. Moreover, we will be happy to provide training to Liberian doctors in the fields of Fertility, Diabetes and Cancer Care.”

Ms. Weah with Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President Merck More Than a Mother. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

Merck Foundation together with the office of the First Lady of Liberia will work closely to introduce innovative ideas that will engage different sectors to create a culture shift with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and make a great impact in a short time.

The initiatives include the Media Health Training organized recently for journalists and media students of Liberia. Also, applications were invited for their ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Award and.

Moreover, Merck Foundation will partner with local artists to create songs to address this topic and sensitize people across the country.

In addition, the first ever “Merck More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards will also be announced in Liberia to involve local fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of infertile women to the community in day to day life.

Another important program to start in 2019 is the Merck Foundation Diabetes Blue Points project which will help improve access to equitable and quality diabetes care across Liberia by providing one-year on-line diabetes diploma doctors from different districts in Liberia. Every diploma graduate should be able to establish a diabetes clinic in his Health Centre or Hospital with the aim to help prevent and manage the disease in their respective communities.

Merck Foundation has provided doctors enrollment from Liberia and shall continue enrolling for the next 5 years in their one year and two-year oncology fellowship program and Master degree program respectively as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.

Merck Foundation in partnership with Minister of Gender and Social Welfare, has provided embryology and clinical training on fertility specialty in the past two years and will further continue this program in partnership with Ministry of Health to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;

“Merck More Than a Mother” initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mind-sets. This powerful initiative supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention and management. In partnership with academia, ministries of health and international fertility societies, the initiative also provides medical education and training for healthcare providers and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

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, Surgical, Pediatric and Radiation 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, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.



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