Company Name : Merck Foundation

Friday, November 27, 2020 5:01PM IST (11:31AM GMT)
First Lady of DR Congo Meets Merck Foundation CEO to Mark Together the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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  • Dr.
  • DR Congo First Lady partners with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity, break infertility stigma and empower girls through education.
  • Merck Foundation CEO underscored their long term commitment to the social and economic development of Democratic Republic of The Congo through their partnership with The First Lady and Ministry of Health.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, underscored their long term commitment through starting their partnership with The First Lady of Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. Madam DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI.
During the high level meeting held this week, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, appointed The First Lady of Democratic Republic of the Congo as The Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother to work closely with Merck Foundation to break the stigma of infertility, build healthcare capacity , and empower girls through education in the country.
H.E. Madam DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDIThe First Lady of Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very happy to partner with Merck Foundation and start their valuable programs in our country as their Ambassador. These programs will help us to transform our public health care sector and create a future shift to empower infertile and childless women through access to information, health and change of mindset as well as empower girls through education which is very close to my heart.”
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very proud of our partnership with The First Lady Of Democratic Republic of the Congo and welcome her as the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother, and new member of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative-MFFLI. With the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, building healthcare capacity is of the highest importance, and through our partnership, we are planning to provide specialty training to equip the local doctors with the skills they need to improve access to equitable and quality healthcare solutions.”
Along with appointing The First Lady of Democratic Republic of the Congo as the Ambassador of Merck More Than A Mother, Merck Foundation also marked the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”.
“Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations, and on the occasion of ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’, We must work together to eliminate violence against women and girls once and for all,” Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

Merck Foundation has enrolled 32 doctors from Democratic Republic of the Congo to master course in Diabetes in French accredited by Diabetes UK as part of their “Diabetes Blue Point Program” to help the doctors prevent and manage the disease in their communities.

Merck Foundation has also provided Fertility and Embryology training to 5 Doctors from Democratic Republic of the Congo with the aim to establish a strong platform of first Fertility specialists and Embryologists to assist infertile couples in the country as part of their historic campaign “Merck More than a Mother”.

Merck Foundation has also enrolled 1 Oncologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of their Merck Oncology Fellowship Program to increase the limited number of oncologists in the country and plans to enroll more doctors after coronavirus lockdown is over.
COVID-19 has severely affected the families of casual and daily workers. To aid this issue, Merck Foundation made a community donation to the casual workers and women to support poor families in Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of their coronavirus response program.
“We are also planning to support 20 girl students as part of Merck Foundation – ‘Educating Katty’ which aims to empower girls through education in Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are closely working with The First Lady on this new program with the aim to empower girls through education,” added Dr. Rasha Kelej, One of the 100 Most Influential Africans (2019, 2020).
Merck Foundation also announced 9 winners from Democratic Republic of the Congo for their “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards 2020 which been launched earlier this year in partnership with The First Lady of Democratic Republic of the Congo with the aim to build media capacity and raise awareness about Covid-19 pandemic.
The Merck Foundation “Stay At Home” Media Recognition Awards winners from Democratic Republic of the Congo are:


FIRST Position:
  • Cassien Tribunal Aungane - Radio Centrale & "Diplomacy & Development" (500 USD)
  • Mukanya Kafuata Andre – Mbote Africa (500 USD)
SECOND Position:
  • Stéphie Manza Mukinzi – Alert Coronavirus (300 USD)

FIRST Position:
  • Mathy Musau Dinyika - Forum Des As (500 USD)

FIRST Position:
  • Muemba Wa Muemba Donat – Jua Magazine (500 USD)
SECOND Position:
  • Jessy Nzengu - Palmier Radio-Télévision Communautaire (300 USD)
THIRD Position:
  • Kazadi Lukusa Nicolas - Radiotélévision Happy Day (200 USD)

FIRST Position:
  • Aly Bukasa Kabambi – Radio Communautaire Butook (500 USD)
SECOND Position:
  • Jody Daniel Nkashama- Radio Okapi (300 USD)
About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign

“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

The Ambassadors of “Merck More Than a Mother” are:
H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
The First Lady of Burundi
H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The First Lady of Chad H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
  • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck More than a Mother’ Film Awards
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country 
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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 FoundationFacebookTwitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.

Click here for Media Contact Details

Mehak Handa ,Community Awareness Program Manager,Merck Foundation ,mehak.handa@external.merckgroup

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