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The 8th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary Inaugurated by Zambia President and 13 African First Ladies

Merck Foundation
, the philanthropic arm of Merck KgaA kickstarted the 8th Edition of “Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary” on 27th April 2021, through an online videoconference. It was co-chaired by H.E. Mrs ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

During his keynote speech, while inaugurating the conference, The President of Zambia, H.E Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU emphasized, “I am very glad to be hosting this important conference together with Merck Foundation, our long term strategic partner. It is a great honor to inaugurate the conference alongside the First Ladies of Africa. I am certain that this conference will help us to further explore partnership opportunities and introduce new frameworks for cooperation in the area of health care capacity building and to define interventions to break infertility stigma and support girl education.”

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees expressed, “I would like to welcome and also thank our partners, African First Ladies, African Ministers and health experts from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the rest of the world to join hands with us in order to realize Merck Foundation’s vision: ‘Everyone in the world should lead a happy and fulfilling life’, we have achieved together, a huge success and we are going to continue and extend our support to achieve more.”
During her Keynote address and welcome speech, H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia and Co-chairperson of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2021 emphasized, “I am very happy to co-chair and host this important conference of Merck Foundation and also to celebrate together the 4th anniversary of Merck Foundation, our long term partner in building healthcare capacity and improving access to health, information and breaking the infertility stigma. Also, I am delighted to have my dear sisters, The First Ladies of Africa at this conference.”
Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “We welcomed The First Ladies of 13 African Countries, who are also the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More than a Mother, to this important conference. Together, we have worked closely throughout the years on a strong strategy to build healthcare capacity by providing specialized training in various specialties; and define interventions to break infertility stigma and support girls’ education.

I am very proud that we have so far provided for more than 1100 Doctors from 42 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with one & two-, three-year specialty training in multiple fields such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology & Fertility specialty, to be the first in their countries. Moreover, we have now widened our horizons by introducing more scholarships for young doctors in many new underserved specialties across Africa and Asia.”
The 8th Edition of the Luminary marked another important milestone: the 4th Anniversary of Merck Foundation.
As part of the Luminary, Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Committee (MFFLI) High-Level Panel was conducted, which was attended by the 13 African First Ladies, who are the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.
The keynote address was delivered by H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia as the host and co-chairperson of the conference along with

  • H.E. Mrs. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of the Republic of Angola
  • H.E. Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of the Republic of Botswana
  • H.E. Madam SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso
  • H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi
  • H.E. Madam BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic
  • H.E. Madam DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of the Democratic Republic of The Congo
  • H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of the Republic of Ghana
  • H.E. Madam DJÈNÈ CONDÉ, The First Lady of the Republic of Guinea Conakry
  • H.E. Mrs. CLAR MARIE WEAH, The First Lady of the Republic of Liberia
  • H.E. Mrs. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi
  • H.E. Mrs. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of the Republic of Mozambique
  • H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of the Republic of Namibia

The Day 1 of the 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary was attended by more than 75,000 participants, Healthcare providers, policymakers, academia, researchers, and media from more than 70 Countries in three languages English French and Portuguese.
On Day 2 of the conference, MARS- Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit will be held where a High-Level Panel Discussion with Ministers of Health, Science and Technology, Education, Information And Gender and MARS Researchers will be held with the objective to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and empower them in STEM.
On the third day, 29th April, Merck Foundation Health Media Training will be organized for the African and Latin American Media fraternity to emphasize the important role that media plays to break the stigma around infertility, in raising awareness about infertility prevention, and empowering girls and women through education.
Other important scientific sessions in different medical fields will also be held in parallel on Day 2 and Day 3 of the Luminary.
Countries participating include Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central Africa Republic, Cambodia, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea – Bissau, Guinea – Conakry, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Togo, Tunisia, U.A.E, UK, Uganda, US, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe and more.

The 8th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary will be streamed live on 29th April 2021 from 13h to 18:00h (Gulf Standard Time), @Merck Foundation Facebook page and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej Facebook page.

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