Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany together with The First Lady of Liberia, Madam Clar Weah and the Ministry of Health will launch new programs to build equitable healthcare capacity and break the infertility stigma in the country.
Madam Weah and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “We welcome Merck Foundation to launch our joint programs which are going to be very beneficial for our people. Their initiatives are very innovative in nature and will help changing the healthcare scenario of our country”
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “We are very happy to underscore our long term commitment to build healthcare capacity in Liberia. We are also very proud to work closely with H.E. First Lady of Liberia as the ambassador of Merck more than a Mother campaign to raise awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and define interventions to break infertility stigma. Moreover, we will be happy to provide training to Liberian doctors in the fields of Fertility, Diabetes and Cancer Care.”
Merck Foundation together with the office of the First Lady of Liberia will work closely to introduce innovative ideas that will engage different sectors to create a culture shift with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and make a great impact in a short time.
The initiatives include the Media Health Training organized recently for journalists and media students of Liberia. Also, applications were invited for their ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Award and.
Moreover, Merck Foundation will partner with local artists to create songs to address this topic and sensitize people across the country.
In addition, the first ever “Merck More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards will also be announced in Liberia to involve local fashion industry to deliver the message of breaking the stigma of infertile women to the community in day to day life.
Another important program to start in 2019 is the Merck Foundation Diabetes Blue Points project which will help improve access to equitable and quality diabetes care across Liberia by providing one-year on-line diabetes diploma doctors from different districts in Liberia. Every diploma graduate should be able to establish a diabetes clinic in his Health Centre or Hospital with the aim to help prevent and manage the disease in their respective communities.
Merck Foundation has provided doctors enrollment from Liberia and shall continue enrolling for the next 5 years in their one year and two-year oncology fellowship program and Master degree program respectively as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck More Than a Mother” initiative aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and health and by changing mind-sets. This powerful initiative 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 and management. In partnership with academia, ministries of health and international fertility societies, the initiative also provides medical education and training for healthcare providers 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 the skills of local experts, building advocacy in cooperation with decision makers and by supporting childless women in starting their own small business. 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 DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad; H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry; H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Republic of Liberia; H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. MARIAM MINT AHMAD TEKBER, The First lady of the Mauritania; H.E. DR. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger; H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia.
Also, part of the campaign is our Merck Embryology & Fertility Training Program, a three-month hands-on practical course in partnership with IRSI, Indonesia, IIRRH, India and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (Manipal University), India to establish the platform of fertility specialists across Africa and developing countries. Merck Foundation provided for more than 109 candidates, in clinical and practical training for fertility specialists and embryologists in more than 30 countries across Africa and Asia such as: Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire , Ghana, Ethiopia , Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania , Zambia , Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Burkina Fuso, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameron, Rwanda, Botswana, DR Congo , Congo Brazzaville, Gambia , Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia.
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 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
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, Surgical, Pediatric and Radiation Oncology at Cairo University – Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.
Launched in 2016, over 43 candidates from more than 21 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, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.