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


  • Dr Rasha Kelej is the First Female, African and Youngest ever Chief Executive Officer for Merck Foundation.
  • The First Ladies of Central African Republic, Gambia, Chad , Niger and Republic of Guinea announced to be ambassadors for 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 launches 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.

During the conference The First Ladies of Africa congratulated Dr. Rasha Kelej , CEO for her appointment as the CEO of Merck Foundation which makes her the the first Female , African and Youngest ever Chief Executive Officer for Merck Foundation. And at Merck.

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 talents as a core part of their strategy. Such an important vision which we all share as African women leaders.” 

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 very influential women leader to launch Merck foundation and inaugurate the Luminary”.

The First Ladies pledged their committed to long term partnership with Merck foundation and their foundation and 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 emphasized “I will be very happy to lead 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.”

A side meeting have been held with each First lady and ministers of health to define the strategy and execution plans of Merck more than a mother and Merck Cancer access program.

Individual visits have been decided toi identify infertile women and enroll them in Merck more than a mother empowerment programs in each country.

First Lady of Niger, H. E, Madam Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou said “we are very proud to partner with Merck Foundation for 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 Guinea Conakry, H.E. Madam Djene Kaba Condé commented “I am personally involved in community awareness to empower women in my country, I welcome this noble cause to save women from discrimination and mistreatment for no reason at all except their inability of bearing 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 leave a very strong impact on the health of my people.”

First lady of Central African Republic, H.E, Madam Brigitte Touadera has received an acknowledgment 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.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

Media contact: 
Sandrah Mulluka

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About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation (, established in 2017, is a philanthropic organization that 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 innovative 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 go to to read more and/or register online to interact and exchange experience with our registered members.

Merck Foundation is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany. 

About Merck:
Merck ( is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

Source: Kenya

November 6 (Monday), 2017 |

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