Malawi First Lady partners with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity

Malawi First Lady partners with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity

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Merck Foundation has appointed Malawi First Lady Monica Chakwera ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother campaign to empower infertile women.

The Merck Foundation and Mrs Chakwera, who doubles as the minister for health will provide speciality training to Malawian doctors in various fields such as oncology, diabetes, fertility, embryology, respiratory care, acute medicines, sexual and reproductive medicines to transform public healthcare sector in Malawi.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany announced the long-term partnership with The First Lady of Malawi during their first video conference summit of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI).

The MFFLI video conference summit was attended by 13 African First Ladies to discuss their joint efforts to build healthcare capacity and strengthen the response to Covid-19 in the country and Africa at large.

In appreciation of the programmes Mrs Chakwera observed, “I am very happy to be appointed the ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother. I will fully support this campaign as The First Lady of Malawi and as a woman. This cause is very close to my heart.”

“I will work in collaboration with our ministries to sensitise our communities, particularly in rural areas to better understand infertility hence to break the stigma around infertile women and to empower them through access to information, education, health, and change of mindset. Moreover, I am looking forward to building healthcare capacity in the country through the programmes of Merck Foundation, as it will contribute to the social and economic development of Malawi,” she adds.

Dr Rasha Kelej, the chief executive officer of Merck Foundation and president of Merck More Than a Mother said:

“We are very happy to partner with The First Lady of Malawi and underscore our long-term commitment to build healthcare capacity, empower girls in education and break the stigma of infertility in Malawi. We are also very proud to appoint The First Lady of Malawi the ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother.”

According to Dr Kelei, “We are going to work very closely to her and the government of Malawi to make history together by providing training for the First Specialists in many fields such as fertility, sexual and reproductive medicines, oncology, diabetes, endocrinology and respiratory and acute medicines with the aim to improve access to quality and equitable health care in the country.”

Merck Foundation will continue their important programme “Educating Linda” together with Malawi First Lady to sponsor the education of 20 best performing girls in their secondary schools till they graduate.

“I truly believe that education is power and educating girls is empowering them to make their own decisions, stand up for their rights, and help them to access economic opportunities”, Dr Kelej, One of 100 Most Influential Africans in 2019 and 2020.

Merck Foundation will enrol the selected Malawian doctors by the First Lady office and Ministry of Health to their various training programs for the next 10 years.

Moreover, Merck Foundation also celebrated three winners from Malawi for their “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards from southern African countries to raise awareness about Cvid-19 in the country.

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