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Merck Foundation scholarships key in building healthcare capacity


Margaret Chisanga


The Merck Foundation ‘Educating Linda’ programme, designed to help the girl child in the areas of building healthcare capacity, breaking infertility stigma and supporting girl education, is vital in improving the healthcare system in the African and Asian regions.

Senator Rasha kelej, President of ‘More than a Mother’ campaign and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation shared this and many other initiatives offered by the Foundation during the 9th Merck foundation First Ladies Initiative Africa Asia Luminary in Dubai, on November 14 and 15.

The Hybrid event was attended by 15 African First Ladies, who included Zambia’s First Lady Mutinta Hichilema. The First Ladies are invited as Ambassadors of the ‘Merck More Than a Mother Campaign’, an initiative designed to advocate and spearhead social and health issues to support women across the continent.

“I am excited to join you today for the first time as a member of this prestigious platform and as a guest of honor at 9th Merck foundation Africa Asia Luminary,” First Lady Mutinta Hichilema said.

 The Luminary sessions ended with one key message being the need to de-stigmatise infertility in Africa through multi-sectoral approaches.

So far 22 girls have received scholarships in nursing and social sciences courses in universities, and 3,000 sets of school items have been donated to pupils through the Educating Linda programme.

Dr Kalej also announced that several one-year, two year and three-year Diploma and Master’s scholarships  continue to be offered to medical students across the continent.

The Merck Foundation also published new editions of children’s storybooks on girl empowerment through education & elimination of domestic violence.

The First Ladies also commemorated World Diabetes Day.

“Merck Foundation marked ‘World Diabetes Day 2022’ together with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health & Academia, at our 9th Edition of Africa Asia Luminary through our long-term commitment to transform landscape of Diabetes in Africa, Asia & Latin America,” Dr Kelej said.

Dr Kelej said to mark World Diabetes Day 2022, the organization would provide 720 Scholarships for Future Diabetes, Endocrinology and Cardiovascular Experts in 43 Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The event also comprised a Health Media Training.

“I urge Media representatives from over 35 countries to create a culture shift by raising awareness about social and health issues and Diabetes & Hypertension,” Dr Kelej said.