The Merck Foundation has partnered with the First Lady of Burundi, Her Excellency Madam Angeline Ndayishimiye to reaffirm its commitment to empowering young women in education and breaking the stigma of infertility in East Africa
Madam Ndayishimiye met with the CEO of the Merck Foundation Dr Rasha Kelej to discuss how to secure their long-term goal and continue their efforts to build on healthcare capacity.
The First Lady of the East African country was also appointed as the ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother project.
Madam Ndayishimiye told Africa News said: “I am very happy to partner with Merck Foundation and excited to capitalise on their valuable programs in our country. These programmes will create a significant impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development.
“As the ambassador of Merck More than a Mother, I will work closely with Merck Foundation to sensitise our communities to better understand infertility and empower women through access to education, information, health and change of mindset and also empower our girls through education.”
Dr. Rasha Kelej, said: “I am very proud of our partnership with Burundi First Lady and welcome her as the ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother and new member of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative-MFFLI.
“We have discussed our long-term collaboration and partnership with her foundation and Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to build healthcare capacity in Burundi, by providing training to doctors in the fields of cancer, fertility, and diabetes care.
“With the outbreak of the global pandemic, building healthcare capacity is more significant than ever, and through our long-term partnership we are looking forward to creating a strong medical army in Burundi.”
The Merck Foundation’s first Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) VC Summit was held last month, which was attended by 13 African First Ladies and she was able to introduce her development programmes in Burundi.
Merck Foundation has provided specialty training to more than 31 doctors from Burundi and will continue doing so for the next ten years in its plan.
The foundation made history by providing training to the first oncologist and fertility specialists and embryologists in Burundi
So far ten doctors have completed the fertility and embryology training, and together with Burundi First Lady, more doctors will be trained to improve access to quality and equitable fertility care in the country.
Merck Foundation has also trained the first oncologist in Burundi and will continue enrolling doctors for oncology fellowship program as a contribution to improve cancer care in the country.
Merck Foundation has also provided diabetes care training to 20 doctors and is going to train more doctors, one from each province.
After completion of the training, these doctors should be able to establish a diabetes clinic in his/her health centre or hospital with the aim to help prevent and manage the disease in their respective communities.
Dr Kelej said: “We will continue our new important Program Educating Linda in partnership with the First Lady of Burundi together with the Ministry of Education.
Under this program, we have sponsored 20 girls in 2019 and will sponsor the education of 20 best performing girls in their secondary schools this year and fir the next 10 years.
“We strongly believe that education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment.”