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Merck Foundation Conducted Their Annual Conference Presided by Ghana Head of State

by businesswireindia.com

Business Wire India

  • Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG inaugurated Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Ghana.
  • The 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” co-chaired by H.E. MADAM REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.
  • African First Ladies of Burundi, CAR, Chad, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe were the Guest of Honor for the Luminary.
  • More than 1000 healthcare providers, policy makers and academia from 50 countries benefitted from the Luminary.
  • 2nd anniversary of Merck Foundation was also marked during the Luminary.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany conducted the 6th Edition of “Merck Africa Asia Luminary” in ACCRA, GHANA on 29th & 30th of October 2019. It was co-chaired by H.E. MADAM REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.
During his keynote speech while inaugurating the conference, The President of Ghana, H.E. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO emphasized, “I am delighted to host this prestigious conference in Ghana. This conference will help find solutions to address the problem of lack of healthcare capacity in African countries and ending stigma attached to infertility.”
Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG emphasized, “Merck 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.”
During her welcome speech, H.E. MADAM REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “I am delighted to host this prestigious conference in Ghana. I am very proud of our partnership with Merck Foundation through which we have been able to achieve many outcomes in the country for the social and economic welfare of our people. through my ambassadorship of Merck More than a Mother, we have been able to launch many initiatives to sensitize our communities about the sensitive issue of infertility and the stigma attached to it”.
Merck Foundation CEO, Dr. Rasha Kelej welcomed the First Ladies and Ministers of Health, Gender, Information, Education and Science from more than 20 African Countries.
“Together with First Ladies of Africa and Ministers of different sectors, we worked on a strong strategy to build healthcare capacity and provide the necessary training to establish a strong platform of experts in Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer and Fertility care in their countries and define interventions to break infertility stigma. During the Luminary, the Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Committee (MFFLI) was also conducted to discuss different topics of discussion, follow up, monitoring and decisions,” Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized.
The keynote address was delivered by H.E. MADAM REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana along with
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. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia;
H.E. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi;
H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria;
H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone;
H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia and
H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
During the Inauguration Session on the 29th of October, two High–Level Ministerial Panel were conducted where the Ministers of Health, Information, Gender, Education & Science shared solutions and activities to help in Building Quality and Equitable Healthcare Capacity in Africa. Also, there was a discussion about Innovative initiatives to Sensitize Communities about Health and Sensitive Issues like infertility.
During Merck Africa Asia Luminary, more than 1000 Healthcare providers, policy makers, academia, researchers and health media from Sub- Saharan Africa, more than 50 English, French and Portuguese speaking countries benefitted from valuable educational and social development sessions by top International experts in Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology, Women health and Cardiology with the aim to raise health awareness and improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare capacity and improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions across the continent.
During the conference, Merck Foundation also marked an important occasion; the 2nd Anniversary of Merck Foundation.
Winners of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Media Recognition, Fashion and Film Awards of Ghana were also announced during the Award ceremony on 29th of October night.
Moreover, a beautiful and empowering song composed by local Ghanaian singers was released with the aim to empower women in general and infertile women in particular.
Countries participating include: Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, CAR, Chad, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Niger-Nigeria, Nigeria, Philippines, Republic of Congo, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, UAE, USA, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
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 70 candidates from more than 25 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, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;
“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign 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, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.
With “Merck More than a mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 
The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:
H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. DR. MAESAIAH THABANE, The First Lady of Lesotho H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana H.E. KEÏTA AMINATA MAIGA, The First Lady of Mali H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia

Merck Foundation provided for more than 140 candidates, three months to six months clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 35 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Cote D'IVOIRE, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malaysia, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Niger, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.
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, Guinea, Ethiopia and Uganda. 
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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Join Merck Foundation online community to exchange experience and information with other healthcare providers, researchers, students, policy makers and community members in Africa and beyond www.merck-foundation.com free registration. Source: Businesswire