Merck Foundation Trains About 500 Specialist Health Workers In Africa

By Winnie Agnes Botha-Merck Foundation

Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rasha Kelej

Merck Foundation the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA says it is satisfied with doctors going back to work in their countries after being trained to specialize in different fields.

The aim of Merck Foundation training program is to develop a strong platform of specialists in Oncology, Fertility and Diabetes. 

The specialized doctors are expected to support the public health system of their respective countries to improve access to equitable and quality healthcare. 

Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rasha Kelej, who is also President of Merck Foundation More than a mother initiative said the Foundation is looking at developing a comprehensive team of specialists and Para-medical staffs in the African countries.

“We also urge the Doctors to share their knowledge and experience with their fellow Doctors to maximize the benefit.

Madame Mutharika interacting with Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rasha Kelej

Can you imagine new 80 oncologists in 26 countries most of them never had oncologists before, a few had one or two only which was not enough,” 

Dr. Kelej said in most African countries the trained doctors are doing a tremendous job and are being a great value addition to their healthcare system. In many African countries oncologists graduates, for example see about 1200 patients per month.

Looking at early diagnosis as a tool to mortality prevention, these trained specialists are capable enough to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of Cancer, Fertility and Diabetes.

They are able to optimize the available resources even if there is a resource constrained setting in their respective countries.

Dr. Kelej said so far Merck Foundation has sponsored specialized trainings for more than 80 new oncologists from 26 countries, 156 Medical graduates in Diabetes management and preventive cardiovascular medicine and more than 180 fertility specialists and embryologists from 35 countries.

In Malawi the Foundation has partnered with the First Lady Office and the Ministry of Health and about 20 medical personnel have been selected to study Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Palliative care, Pediatric Oncology, Gynecology Oncology, and Oncology Nursing and Fertility Training.

The Malawian team is expected to leave for the specialized training to different international universities soon after the COVID-19 pandemic scare is over.

The First Lady Gertrude Mutharika is the Merck More than a mother ambassador in Malawi and said the scholarships have come at a good time when Malawi is working on strengthening its health system.

We have few specialized doctors- Madame Mutharika

“Malawi has a few specialized doctors and with government´s efforts to have more qualified health workers this initiative will help us offer quality health care to many Malawians” She said.

“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.

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