The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany – a leading science and technology company in healthcare, has partnered with African First Ladies to boost education and healthcare capacity across various parts of the continent.
The Foundation recently conducted its Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) Summit, an event that was attended by 15 African First Ladies.
“Merck through its foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity,” explained Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Our aim is to improve access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions across African continent,” he continued.
Commenting on the dame, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of the Merck More Than a Mother initiative, said she was proud to partner with the African First ladies to become ‘Merck more than a Mother’ ambassadors and partner with them to build healthcare capacity, break the stigma of infertility and empower women and girls in education with special focus on STEM.
“During our strategy meeting, we shared experiences, discussed challenges and defined solutions to ensure continuous improvement and exchange variable aspects of different cultures in order to localize specific messages that can raise health awareness and create a culture shift to empower women and girls across Africa,” she added.
The Summit was attended by the First Ladies of Botswana, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
A special training program was organized for the First Ladies’ technical teams to enable them to achieve agreed objectives and follow up on Merck Foundation’s programs of building capacity in different sectors.
Denise Nkurunziza, the First Lady of Burundi stated that the Merck Foundation will be proving clinical training on fertility and oncology to the country’s doctors.
Brigitte Touadera, the First Lady of Central African Republic said she was proud to work closely to advance healthcare sector and empower infertile women in her country. Other First Ladies expressed similar sentiments.
The Merck More Than a Mother initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mind-sets. The initiative supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care.