Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks ‘World Cancer Day 2020’, even as it partners with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health to build cancer care capacity in the continent.
The foundation made history by training the first African oncologists in many countries. The World Cancer Day has as its theme ‘I am and I will.’
“Merck Foundation is focusing on improving access to cancer care solutions by developing a Multidisciplinary Oncology Care team in each country (like Medical, Surgery, Pediatric, Gynae, Radiation Oncologists, Radiation Technician, Nursing, Pathologist) as an integrated team approach can lead to better outcomes.
“I am very proud to say that we have so far trained more than 80 Oncologists from 26 countries. I am particularly very happy to share that Merck Foundation has trained first ever oncologists in countries like Gambia, Central African Republic, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Burundi, Chad and Sierra Leone. We are making history in these countries” emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.
The efforts of Merck Foundation are being appreciated by African presidents and First Ladies. The President of Chad, Idriss Déby, President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, President of Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra have acknowledged Merck Foundation’s efforts to train their doctors to be the first oncologists in their countries so that people can find the cancer care they deserve in their home countries.
The First Lady of Liberia, Clar Marie Weah shared, “Merck Foundation is training the first ever oncologists from our country. Having our own cancer specialists is something we had never imagined. I deeply appreciate the efforts of Merck Foundation”.
The first Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio and her Malawi counterpart Professor Gertrude Mutharika both appreciated the efforts of Merck Foundation.
Merck Foundation through its Merck Cancer Access Program has trained more than 80 Oncology Care Specialists from 26 countries which are: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Therefore, Merck foundation partnership with African First Ladies, local Governments and Academia has been the right strategy to address this pressing issue.