Banjul [The Gambia]/ Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 13 (ANI/BusinessWire India): Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, recently conducted their annual conference, the 9th Edition of "Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary". The conference was inaugurated by Prof. Dr Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of both of Executive Board of E. Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees, and Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary, and FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation "More Than a Mother" along with African First Ladies of Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Angola and Central Africa.
"FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation "More Than a Mother" is our long-term partner since 2017. We had a long meeting during 9th edition of our Luminary to discuss our joint programs and strategy and report its impact. I am proud to share that together we have provided 34 scholarships to young Gambian doctors in many critical and underserved specialties including Fertility & Embryology, Oncology, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Sexual & Reproductive Medicine, Respiratory Medicine and Acute Medicine. Together, we are making history in The Gambia by providing training to first specialists in many fields such as Oncology, Respiratory, Fertility, Embryology, Reproductive Care, Diabetes, Endocrinology and more," emphasized Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.
FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation "More Than a Mother" emphasized, "Our partnership journey is growing from strength to strength as we have achieved many important and significant milestones since 2017, when I hosted Merck Foundation CEO and together, we launched the programs in my country. Together we have been able to provide 34 medical scholarships to our young doctors. We consider it to be a very high number for our country and will contribute significantly to The Gambia's health security and its economic and social development.
Together we are also working on various initiatives to raise awareness about critical social and health issues like Breaking Infertility Stigma, supporting Girl Education, Stopping GBV, Ending Child Marriage & FGM, diabetes & hypertension awareness. We have launched together 7 children's storybooks on these issues to sensitize them from young ages. Furthermore, we have also launched awards of best media, song, film and fashion designs to encourage our journalists and artists to raise awareness on these important topics."
Watch the partnership journey of Merck Foundation with The Gambia First Lady: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFzXT8zIrGY
Watch the video of The First Lady of The Gambia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation "More Than a Mother" during the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 here:
On day 2 of the Luminary, Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative- MFFLI committee meeting was also conducted between The First Ladies and Merck Foundation Chairman and CEO. During the MFFLI committee meeting, the future strategy of 2023 was discussed and the impact of their partnership programs since 2017, were announced.
"I personally enjoyed our reading session of Children's storybooks created by Merck Foundation, 'Jackline's Rescue' - to focus on the importance of Girl Education and highlight the immoral practices of society including child marriage & dowry system; and 'A Ride Into The Future' - to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education. It was my favorite part of MFFLI committee, I hope we keep doing this every year," Senator Rasha Kelej emphasized.
Watch the video of MFFLI committee meeting: https://youtu.be/hGd8fTM7qwg
During the Luminary, an important one-to-one meeting between The First Lady of The Gambia and Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej was held to discuss the impact of ongoing programs and define strategies to further build healthcare and media capacity in The Gambia.
Watch the video of Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej receiving The Gambia First Lady, FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW:
Together with The Gambia First Lady, Merck Foundation has made history by providing 34 scholarships so far, out of which 19 scholarships have been provided for Fertility Training and one year Post Graduate Diploma, a two-year Master's degree in Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, to be the first specialists in The Gambia.
Moreover, 5 scholarships have been provided for Diabetes specialty training, 2 scholarships for the Oncology Fellowship program, 7 scholarships for One Year PG Diploma and a two-year Master degree in Acute Medicine and Respiratory Medicine and also 1 scholarship for Two years PG Diploma in Neonatal Medicine, to also be the first specialists in their country.
"Merck Foundation has always believed in the importance of building healthcare capacity and has been working towards this since 2012. We will continue to provide medical training to Gambian doctors in various medical specialties in partnership with the First Lady of The Gambia," assured Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej.
Merck Foundation in partnership with The Gambia First Lady has also initiated their program "Educating Linda", to support the education of 20 underprivileged but brilliant schoolgirls by providing scholarships till they graduate. Moreover, 3000 sets of essential school items were provided to Gambian school-going girls.
Moreover, Merck Foundation together with The First Lady of Gambia conducted their online Health Media Training and also celebrated the winners of the Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards. The training was conducted to emphasize on the important and critical role of media to sensitize the communities about the social and health issues such as: breaking infertility stigma, ending child marriage, supporting girl education and diabetes & hypertension prevention and early detection.
Merck Foundation also announced the Call for applications for their 8 important awards in partnership with The First Lady of The Gambia for Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields.
Merck Foundation in partnership with The Gambia First Lady has also launched an empowering song to break the stigma around infertility in Africa and the rest of the world as part of 'More than a Mother' community awareness campaign. The song urges men to support their wives during the treatment journey of building a family and delivers an important message 'Fertility is a Shared Responsibility'. It has been written and composed by Sunita, a young female artist from The Gambia.
Link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb0SEqMO0Sc&t=69s
The 9th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 was streamed live on the social media handles of Merck Foundation and Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej.
Link to the Facebook live steam of the Inaugural Session of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary & African First Ladies High-Level Panel: https://www.facebook.com/KelejRasha/videos/1578702445903102
Merck Foundation is transforming the Patient care landscape and making history together with its partners in Africa, Asia, and beyond, through:
- 1470 + Scholarships provided by Merck Foundation for doctors from 50 Countries in 32 critical and underserved medical specialities.
Merck Foundation is also creating a culture shift and breaking the silence about a wide range of social and health issues in Africa and underserved communities through:
- 2200 + Media Persons from more than 50 countries trained to better raise Awareness about different social and health issues
- 8 Different Awards launched annually for best media coverage, fashion designers, films, and songs
- Around 30 songs to address health and social issues by local singers across Africa
- 8 Children's Storybooks in three languages - English, French, and Portuguese
- Pan African TV Program "Our Africa by Merck Foundation" addressing Social and Health Issues in Africa through "Fashion and ART with Purpose" Community
- 1000+ Girls from 15 African countries supported through scholarships or school items, annually
- 9 Social Media Channels with more than 5 Million Followers
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