Merck Foundation and African First Ladies to transform and advance cancer care sector in Africa

PUBLISHED: Wed, 03 Feb 2021 16:23:38 GMT

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Merck Foundation ( marks World Cancer Day together with Africa First Ladies and Ministries of Health through building cancer care and increase the limited number of oncologists in their countries; Merck Foundation to make history in Africa by training the first African oncologists and cancer care teams in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Central African Republic, Chad, and Niger; Merck Foundation together with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health build cancer care capacity in Africa by providing One-, two- and three-years fellowship, master degree, and Diploma programs for 70 African doctors from 24  Countries to be first trained oncologists and first multidisciplinary cancer care teams in their countries.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, in partnership with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health, mark ‘World Cancer Day 2021’ themed ‘I am and I will’ through their Cancer Access Program to build cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of Oncologists across the continent.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, Most Influential African (2019 & 2020) & African Woman of The Year 2020 emphasized, “We at Merck Foundation strive to make the African healthcare professionals highly competent and fully independent by providing the best in class multidisciplinary oncology and cancer care training to young doctors from all over Africa. I am proud of our success to reshape and advance the public cancer care sector and to increase the limited number of oncologists by more than 70 new oncologists to be the first in 24 countries. And to form a Multidisciplinary Oncology Care teams in many countries consist of; Medical, Surgery, Pediatrics, Gynecology, Radiation Oncologists, Nursing, Pathologist and Radiology Technician. We are definitely making history in Africa through training the first oncologists and first cancer care teams in many countries such as; The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Central African Republic, Chad, and Niger. Our key objective is to provide quality and equitable care to patients who never had anyone to care for them before”.

The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE expressed, “I am very happy that as a part of our partnership, Merck Foundation is providing specialty training to the first-ever oncologist from Burundi. We will be enrolling more doctors in the upcoming batches in various specialties of Oncology, with the aim to establish a skilled team, able to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care in the country. I appreciate the unique efforts of Merck Foundation in this regard, this is the first time we receive this kind of support which help us to have our own specialists”.

The First Lady of Zimbabwe, H.E. Mrs. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA emphasized, “Merck Foundation is going to provide the valuable specialty oncology training to young Zimbabwean doctors. We are very excited about it as it will empower healthcare professionals in our country with advanced training and medical expertise in overall oncology care. This will help the people of our country to fight this deadly disease”.

Launched in 2016, the Merck Cancer Access Program provides One-, two- and three-years fellowship, master degree, and Diploma programs for African doctors in India, Egypt, Kenya, and Malaysia.

Merck Foundation also recently introduced 2 years online PG Diploma in Cancer and Clinical Oncology from the UK.

“We are committed to lead Africa to a better future through transforming the landscape of Cancer care in the continent. We will soon scale up and strengthen our efforts and activities in more countries across Africa”, added Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

Merck Foundation through its Merck Cancer Access Program has till date trained more than 70 Oncologists from 24 countries (in addition to 10 doctors undergoing the training) which are: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

To hear testimonials of Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship Alumni, pls visit:

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

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About Merck Foundation: The Merck Foundation (, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.  Please visit to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (; Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram (, YouTube ( and Flicker (

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