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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Merck Foundation brings African and Asian Countries together to Build Healthcare Capacity in the Continent

Rebecca Ejifoma

Merck Foundation – a non-profit company and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany – is set to conduct the Fourth edition of their annual ‘Merck Africa Asia Luminary’ on 24th and 25th of October next year in partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research, Africa Fertility Society and the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS).

This annual luminary is coming after the success of Merck Africa Luminary in Germany, Kenya and cote D’Ivoire, as disclosed in a press release issued today.

According to the Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Merck is a value driven company and that is one of the reasons 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.

CEO of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej, expressed that Merck Foundation would bring more than 450 healthcare providers, policy makers, academia and researchers from Africa, Asia and CIS countries to  benefit from the valuable educational and social development sessions by top international experts in Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology, Cardiology, Women Health and Research. This is to improve disease management, early detection and prevention, build healthcare and research capacity and improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions in developing countries.

He added: “We are very proud to have very influential women leader to inaugurate the Luminary such as: Vice President of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Samia Hassan Suluhu, First Lady Republic of Guinea, H.E. Conde Djénè Kaba, First Lady of Gambia, H.E. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, First Lady of Niger, H.E. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of Chad, H.E. Hinda Deby Itno and First Lady of Central African Republic, H.E. Brigitte Touadera."

Kelej further disclosed that they would announce the start of Merck more than a Mother” to empower infertile women through access to information, health and change of mind-set in their respective countries and the rest of Africa.

Key African Ministers to participate in two High Level Panels: Two high level panels of Ministers of Health and Gender to discuss the challenges and solutions to improve access to fertility and cancer care will also take place.

The first ministerial high level panel on ‘Merck more than a Mother’s role in defining interventions to break the stigma around infertility in Africa and Asia,’ involved Minister of Health & Sanitation, Sierra Leone,  Zuliatu Cooper;  Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Liberia, Hon. Julia Cassell; Minister for Women, South Africa, Hon. Susan Shabangu; Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda, Betty Amongi and the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation to chair the panel discussion, Dr Rasha Kelej.

The second on “The Role of Merck Foundation Together with Governments to improve access to equitable healthcare solutions in Africa and Asia” will have: the Minister of Health Republic of Zambia, Hon. Chilatu Chilufya; the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services of Namibia, Hon. Julieta Kavetuna; Minister of Health, Gambia, Hon. Saffie Lowe Ceesay; Minister of Health of Niger, Hon. Idi Illassou Mainassara; Minister of Health, Chad, Hon. Ngarmbatina Odimbeye Soukate; Minister of Health, Central African Republic, Hon. Jocelyne Fernande Djengbot; Minister of Health of Republic of Guinea, Hon. Abdourahmane Diallo.

Others in the panel include: President of International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO); Prof. Dr. Kailash Sharma, Director, Tata Memorial Centre, India; Prof. Dileep Mhaisekar, Vice Chancellor - Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) India and Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer, Merck Foundation to chair the panel.

Healthcare Providers and Academia will also be engaged in an open dialogue to explore the educational gaps with the aim to inform the successful implementation of Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Capacity Advancement Program. In addition to witness the announcement of the winners of the ‘Merck Diabetes and Hypertension Awards’ from across Africa and Asia at the Award Ceremony Dinner.

Meanwhile, countries participating include: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Congo, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Mali, Malawi, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Liberia, Burundi, Mali, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea, Russia, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Indonesia.