The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of multinational pharmaceutical company, Merck KGaA Germany, has underscored their commitment to build healthcare capacity in Kenya.
The announcement was made during a high-level meeting held at the State House between The First Lady of Kenya, Madam Margaret Kenyatta and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of the Merck Foundation.
“It was an honor and to meet and hold talks with the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej. I am looking forward to partnering in the training of more oncologists and experts in diabetes and infertility management, as well as in Beyond Zero,” said Kenya’s First Lady.
Beyond Zero is an initiative that was launched in January 24, 2014 by Kenya’s First Lady to improve maternal and child health in Kenya and to accelerate the implementation of the national plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children.
“I am proud and elated to meet Her Excellency the First Lady of Kenya, Madam Margaret Kenyatta to discuss Merck Foundation’s commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of people of Kenya by improving access to quality and equitable healthcare in the country by training more doctors in the fields of Fertility, Cancer and Diabetes care through nationwide programs. Also, to work closely to break the stigma of infertility in Kenya and other African countries,” Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained.
Her sentiments come after the Merck Foundation recently launched its ‘Empowering Berna’ project under the flagship global program ‘Merck More than a Mother’ 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 100 women across Kenya.
As part of its mandate, the Merck Foundation has provided embryology training on fertility specialty to Kenyan doctors in the past two years and will continue this program to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.
Merck Foundation has developed two-year oncology fellowship program in partnership with University of Nairobi, Kenya to improve cancer care in the country. Merck foundation has enrolled six doctors and will continue to enroll more in the next five years with the aim to build cancer care capacity nationwide.
The Foundation has also provided eight Kenyan doctors with one-year diabetes and hypertension diplomas and will continue to enroll more doctors from all counties in collaboration with local governments in the next five years through their nationwide ‘Merck Foundation Diabetes Blue Points’ project in Kenya.