Merck Foundation Conducted Their First Côte d’Ivoire Alumni Summit 2024 in Partnership with Medical Societies of 14 Francophone African Countries

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Business Wire India

  • The Summit was attended by the Presidents of Medical Societies of Côte d’Ivoire and Presidents of Fertility Societies of 14 Francophone African Countries.
  • Merck Foundation also conducted their first Health Media Training in Côte d’Ivoire for the journalists in partnership with National union of Journalists of Côte d’Ivoire, UNJCI.
  • Merck Foundation announced 2024 Call for Applications for 2 categories that includes 8 Awards for Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, Students, and new potential talents in these fields.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted the Merck Foundation Côte d’Ivoire Summit 2024 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, chaired by Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation. The Summit was conducted in partnership with Medical Societies and GIERAF.
 
It was attended by the Presidents of Medical Societies of Côte d’Ivoire and Presidents of Fertility Societies of 14 Francophone African Countries.
 
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation expressed, “The Summit was a part of our efforts to underscore our long-term commitment to support to contribute to transforming patient care landscape in Africa, with a special focus on Francophone African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, together with our new partners, the Côte d’Ivoire Medical Societies and Academia and our existing partners like the Fertility Societies of French speaking African countries such as Cameroon, DRC, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali.
 
I am proud to share that we have till today provided more than 1810 scholarships for young doctors from 52 countries in 42 critical and underserved medical specialties. Out of which more than 350 scholarships were provided for young doctors from 14 Francophone African nations. This is a huge number and a great achievement.
 
We are committed for the past 12 years, since 2012, towards healthcare capacity advancement, patient care transformation and reshaping the landscape of the public healthcare sector in Africa and beyond.”
 
Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of Merck Foundation BOT emphasized, “We strongly believe that empowering people will lead to a better future, we also believe good healthcare can transform the lives of individuals and families across developing countries. It can significantly contribute to economic and social development because healthcare is a major driver of economic growth and, consequently, of social progress.”
 
Merck Foundation CEO also shared that they have provided more than 100 scholarships in Fertility and Embryology clinical training, in partnership with GIERAF and African Fertility Societies to doctors from 14 Francophone countries. Out of which 7 scholarships have bene provided to young doctors of Côte d’Ivoire, as a part of their “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” Campaign.
 
“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a strong movement that aims to empower women living with infertility stigma through access to information, education, change of mindset, and economic empowerment.
 
“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” defines interventions to build quality and equitable Reproductive and Fertility Care Capacity, Break Infertility Stigma and Raise Awareness about Infertility Prevention and Male Infertility.
 
“Over the past seven years, we have worked closely with First Ladies of more than 24 African countries as Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” and we also work very closely with Ministries of Health, Education, Information, Communication, Gender, Academia, Media and Art societies in 52 countries.” added Dr. Kelej.
 
According to WHO data, more than 180 million couples in developing countries – that is 1 in every 4 couple, suffer from infertility. In many cultures in Africa, infertility is a huge stigma. Women are solely blamed for failing to conceive and the social stigma of childlessness, especially for women leads to isolation and stigmatization and results in discrimination and ostracism. This mostly also leads to divorce or physical or psychological violence. As a part of “More Than a Mother” Campaign, Merck Foundation has launched many initiatives to break this stigma and create a culture shift.
 
Merck Foundation has also been empowering childless and infertile women through their “Empowering Berna” initiative under their “More Than a Mother” movement. This initiative helps women who cannot be treated for infertility anymore by helping them get trained to establish small businesses so that they can be independent and rebuild their lives. Through ‘Empowering Berna’, the lives of many infertile women have been transformed in many African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Niger, Malawi, and many more.
 
“It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to lead a fulfilling life, with or without a child,” added Dr. Kelej.
 
During the Summit, Merck Foundation also screened “Sugar Free Jude” and “Mark’s Pressure” Animation Films, with the aim to raise awareness about early detection and prevention of Diabetes and Hypertension (which are corelated) and to Promote Healthy Lifestyle, amongst children and youth in Africa and beyond, were also screened during the Summit, in French Language. All three animation films are adapted from Merck Foundation’s children storybooks.
 
Link to the films here:

Sugar Free Jude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iefwLSbOGT4
Mark’s Pressure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJylVgGbvtA
 
Merck Foundation also conducted the First Edition of Health Media Training for the Media Representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with National Union of Journalists of Côte d’Ivoire (UNJCI). The training was conducted to emphasize on the important role that media plays to influence our society to create a cultural shift with the aim to address wide range of social and health issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels; to underscore the importance of Empowering Girls and Women in Education and to understand the Influence of infertility stigma and other social issues like GBV, Child Marriage, FGM etc. on women and couples – Social and Psychological Impact. Apart from this, it also included a session on the importance of increasing the awareness of early detection and prevention of Diabetes and Hypertension. The training session was addressed by top Medical and Media Experts and was attended by over 50 journalists from Abidjan.
 
During the Training Session, ‘More Than Mother’, The First Animation FILM to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from a young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and the resulted domestic violence in the future, was also screened.

Link to “More Than a Mother” Animation Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri1vnt7VM-M
 
During the training session, Merck Foundation also announced the Call for Application for their 8 Awards.  
 
“I invite the Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields from Côte d’Ivoire to apply for our awards”, added Senator Kelej.  
 
Details of the Awards:

1. Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: Media representatives and media students are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness about one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.
Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.

2. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: All African Filmmakers, Students of Film Making Training Institutions, or Young Talents of Africa are invited to create and share a long or short FILMS, either drama, documentary, or docudrama to deliver strong and influential messages to address one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.
Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.

3. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.
Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.
 
4. Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to address one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.
Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.
 
5. Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards 2024 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work through strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.
Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

6. Merck Foundation Film Awards 2024 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: All African Filmmakers, Students of Film Making Training Institutions, or Young Talents of Africa are invited to create and share a long or short FILMS, either drama, documentary, or docudrama to deliver strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.
Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

7. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards 2024 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.
Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

8. Merck Foundation Song Awards 2024 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.
Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.
 
Entries for all the awards are to be submitted via email to:
[email protected]