By Memory Chatonda
Blantyre, April 27, Mana: Malawi’s First Lady Monica Chakwera has said that Merck Foundation has provided 19 scholarships to Malawian doctors to enrol in one year online diploma in different medical specialties in order to assist in providing quality and equitable health care solution.
The First Lady disclosed this on Tuesday at Sanjika Palace, Blantyre when she joined other African First Ladies in virtual conferencing held in Zambia to commemorate the eighth Edition of Merck Foundation Africa, Asia luminary and celebrate the fourth anniversary of Merck Foundation.
She said the medical specialties include acute medicine, diabetes, sexual and reproductive medicine
“In addition, we have nine doctors and nurses enrolled in oncology and three doctors enrolled in fertility training in India.
“These specialties are of great importance for Malawi as they will contribute towards establishing a skilled team of doctors to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care, and also establish a strong platform to assist infertile couples in the country,” Chakwera said.
The First Lady revealed that her office together with the Ministry of Health plan to enrol more doctors in different Diploma and Master Degree programmes in new critical and underserved specialties such as gastroenterology, mental health: orthopaedic trauma, paediatric and emergency medicine
She reiterated her commitment to continue sensitizing communities to better understand infertility and break the stigma around infertile women through access to information, education, health and change of mindset
“I believe every woman deserves to be treated with great dignity irrespective of their status,” Chakwera added.
She said that office together with Merck Foundation and Ministry of Education have provided scholarships to 40 best performing girls in secondary school courtesy of ‘Educating Linda programme’’.
She said that Malawi government would continue working in partnership with Merck Foundation and other African First Ladies to build health care capacity and establish a strong platform of specialized and well trained health experts to transform health care sector on the continent.
Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Rasha Kelej expressed gratitude to First Ladies for championing the Foundation’s initiatives in their respective countries.
She said that the Foundation would continue to work with 19 African First Ladies and Ministers of Health to build health care capacity in different medical fields.
According to Kelej, so far, more than 1,100 doctors from 42 countries including Malawi have benefited from Merck foundation scholarship in different medical fields.
She added that more local doctors would soon join in the next few years to benefit from more scholarships in areas of internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, Mental Health: Orthopaedic Trauma, Paediatric, Emergency Medicine, Dermatology, Neonatal Medicine, Pain Management, Psychiatry, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases among others.
The Video conference attracted 5,000 participants from more than 70 countries.