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Merck foundation in partnership with First Lady launch health program

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother with H.E. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, First Lady of the Republic of Ghana during the launch. (AGENCY PHOTO)

ACCRA, Ghana – Merck Foundation awarded the First Lady of Ghana to acknowledge her efforts as “Merck More Than a Mother” Ambassador; Merck Foundation CEO and First Lady of Ghana to co-chair the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Accra, Ghana on 29th and 30th October 2019

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany launched their programs in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO to underscore their commitment to build healthcare capacity in the country and to finalize discussions about Merck Foundation’s annual conference 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” to be co-chaired by Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO in Accra, Ghana on 29th -30th October 2019.

During the launch event, Merck Foundation also awarded Her Excellency to acknowledge her efforts as “Merck More Than a Mother” Ambassador in the country.

During the conference steering committee meeting, many new programs were finalized and launched in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Ghana.

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Merck more than a Mother Ambassador emphasized “We are excited to partner with Merck Foundation and are happy with their strong commitment and the efficient execution of their programs in the country. These programs will prove very significant in creating an impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development. Also, I am happy to host and co -chair the 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary. I will continue to support and cooperate with Merck Foundation for all their programs.”

“We are very happy to award Her Excellency First Lady of Ghana, REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO for her great efforts to empower infertile women as the ambassador of Merck More than a Mother. We have also underscored our long term partnership with her Foundation and Ministry of Health of Ghana to continue building healthcare capacity and train doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Hypertension, Fertility and cancer care. Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people of the continent”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

“We are thankful to H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO for hosting Merck Africa Asia Luminary, the annual conference of Merck Foundation. It will be attended by more than 1000 healthcare providers, policy makers, academia and researchers from over 60 African and Asian countries. The objective is to improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare and scientific research capacity and improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions across Africa and Asia.” added Dr. Kelej.

The 5th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary was presided by The President of Senegal, H.E. MACKY SALL in Dakar, Senegal. It was also attended by 09 African First Ladies and 12 Ministers of Health. More than 1000 African healthcare providers from more than 60 countries benefited from several medical education sessions.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President Merck More than A Mother, together with H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Merck more than a Mother Ambassador also conducted a special meeting with more than 100 Ghanaian infertile women to soft launch Merck more than a Mother campaign through identifying their needs and challenges and work on a concrete strategy to break the stigma of infertility through art, media as an effective tool to raise awareness about this sensitive topic. Moreover, to identify interventions to build fertility care capacity in the country so that every infertile couple would eventually have access to information, healthcare and change of mindset. They both pledged to support this cause through innovative idea that engages all sectors to create a culture shift and make a great impact in a short time.

“Few initiatives to get the desired culture shift include announcing the Merck more than a Mother Media Recognition Award and Media Health Training in partnership with Ghana Journalism Society. Creating songs and movies in partnership with Ghanaian artists to address this topic and educate people across the country which will require supporting film making industry and students of the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. Also, involving fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of Infertile women to the community in day to day life which will be achieved through supporting the young fashion designers and student of Ghana Fashion Academy to come up with innovative ideas to reach youth” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck Foundation has provided clinical training on fertility specialty in the past two years and will continue this program in partnership with ministry of health to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.

The Foundation will also continue enrolling doctors from Ghana in their two-year oncology fellowship program and master degree as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.

It has as well provided five Ghanaian doctors with one-year diabetes and hypertension diploma and will continue to enroll more doctors in the next five years.

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