Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA, meets President of Niger, H.E. MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU to discuss and underscore their long-term commitment towards healthcare capacity building and improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions in Niger. They also addressed their efforts to provide training and empower women and youth in Niger through their successful programs such as; ‘Merck Cancer Access Program’ and ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ in partnership with the First Lady of Niger H.E. Mrs. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou.
During the meeting, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of Niger, emphasized that the Merck Foundation’s programs are aligned with the National Strategy of Niger where healthcare is essential for the social and economic development of the nation.
Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E.Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees underscored, " We are very proud to launch our Merck Foundation in partnership with the First Lady of Niger and Ministry of Health to build healthcare capacity, improve access to Cancer and Diabetes care and to empower infertile women in the country."
Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation explained, “We are very proud to appoint H.E. Mrs. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, the First Lady of The Republic of Niger, as the ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign, to work closely with Merck Foundation in defining interventions to break the stigma around childless women across the country. Through our partnership, we will transform the lives of the forgotten women, women who suffered all their lives from the infertility stigma in silence. We are not leaving them alone, Merck Foundation will try to change their lives and change the social perception of them through Art, Media, Advocacy, Awareness and all the appropriate tools that can influence society.”
“We witnessed a great deal of creativity from people in Niger addressing this sensitive issue through developing two songs in local and French language and a theatre play, to emphasize the suffering infertile women undergoing every day, and asking the community to break the stigma around infertility. This emphasized the important role art plays to change bad behavior and raise awareness among communities.” Rasha Kelej added.
Moreover, Merck Foundation is committed to providing one-year to two-years Oncology Fellowship Programs and Clinical Fertility Management Training to seven candidates from Niger in 2018 and is determined to provide training to more candidates in the future.
Merck Foundation is committed to contributing toward advancing Diabetes Care in Niger, by providing online Diabetes Management Diploma in the French language, for medical postgraduates in Niger and other Francophone African countries, so that they can learn more about diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. The course is accredited by 'Royal College for general practitioners' in the UK.