MeRck Foundation Launched by First Ladies of Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, The Gambia and Guinea and Chairperson of National Assembly of Namibia

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  • The First Ladies of Central African Republic, Gambia, Chad, Niger and Republic of Guinea announced as ambassadors of 'Merck More than a Mother' campaign in their countries.

  • More than 450 African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers from Africa and Asia benefited from the luminary sessions.


Merck KGaA Germany launched their Merck Foundation, a non-profit company established in June 2017 at their Fourth edition of their annual "Merck Africa Asia Luminary" held in Cairo, Egypt on October 24th, 2017.

From left to right: H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Chad Madame Hinda Deby Itno; H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Niger Madame Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG; ; H.E. First Lady of the Republic of Guinea Madame Conde Djene; H.E. First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera; Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation; H.E. First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, Madame Fatoumattah Bah-Barrow; and Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams, the Chairperson of the National Council of the Republic of Namibia during the launch of Merck Foundation in Cairo, Egypt on October 24, 2017.

Chairperson of National Assembly of Namibia, Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams emphasized: “I am very proud to be an ambassador for Merck Foundation in my country. The appointment of Dr. Rasha Kelej as the CEO of Merck foundation is a great proof that Merck believes in women empowerment, diversity and empowering of African talent as a core part of their strategy; an important vision which we all share as African women leaders.”

During the event Africa Ferility Society awarded Prof. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG for his contribution to empower infertile women through merck More Than a Mother campaign in Africa.

Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and Merck Foundation CEO, Dr Rasha Kelej present an award to Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams, Chairperson of the National Council, Republic of Namibia.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E-Merck KG emphasized: "Merck is a value driven company and that is one of the reasons why Merck through its foundation is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and developing countries by building healthcare capacity and improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the continent."

Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized in our interview: "I am very proud to have such influential women leaders to launch Merck Foundation and inaugurate the Merck Africa Asia Luminary. The First Ladies pledged their committed to long term partnership with Merck Foundation, and their respective foundations as well as ministries of health of their countries to implement the fertility and cancer access programs in their countries.

First Lady of Chad, Madame Hinda Deby Itno said: "I am very happy to be leading campaigns and raise awareness about infertility to break the stigma around infertile women together with Merck Foundation. We are discussing the execution of the training programs for our first fertility specialists in my country which will contribute to helping couples to find solutions to make happy families."

Side meetings were held with each First Lady and the Ministers of Health to define the strategies and execution of "Merck More than a Mother" and "Merck Cancer Access Program"Individual visits have been planned to identify infertile women and enroll them in “Merck More than a Mother” empowerment programs in each country.

First Lady of Chad, Madame Hinda Deby Itno appointed as Merck More than a Mother ambassador by Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and Merck Foundation CEO, Dr Rasha Kelej.

On her part, First Lady of Niger, H.E. Madam Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou said: "We are very proud to partner with Merck Foundation in such noble cause. I am happy to accept the appointment as an ambassador of Merck more than a mother to empower infertile women through access to awareness, health and change of mindset in Niger."

First Lady of the Republic of Guinea, H.E. Madame Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou appointed as Merck More than a Mother ambassador by Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and Merck Foundation CEO, Dr Rasha Kelej.

First Lady of Republic of Guinea, H.E. Madame Condé Djéne, while commending Merck Foundation said: "I am personally involved in community awareness to empower women in my country and I welcome this noble cause to save women from discrimination and mistreatment due to their inability to bear children which is equally caused by their husbands and yet they are solely blamed for it. We will work very closely with 'Merck More than a Mother' to change this unfair behavior and create a culture shift. We are also very happy to provide oncology training for our doctors as we do not have any oncologists in Guinea. This will have a very strong impact on the health of my people."

First Lady of the Republic of Guinea, H.E. Madame Condé Djéne appointed as Merck More than a Mother ambassador by Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and Merck Foundation CEO, Dr Rasha Kelej.

First lady of Central Africa Republic, H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera received an award from Merck Foundation as a recognition for her successful role as ambassador for Merck More than a Mother in 2016 and 2017 and the successful partnership with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity in the post-conflict country.

First Lady of Central Africa Republic, H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera receives an award for her successful role as Merck More than a Mother ambassador in 2016 and 2017 from Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck, Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and Merck Foundation CEO, Dr Rasha Kelej.

First Lady of Central Africa Republic, H.E. Madame Brigitte Touadera at a side meeting with Merck Foundation CEO during the launch of Merck Foundation in Cairo, Egypt. The two committed to work together to raise awareness about infertility problems faced by women in Central Africa Republic.

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