AFRICA – Africa First Ladies and their ministries of health have partnered with Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, in fight against cancer across the continent.

The partnership was celebrated on World Cancer Day 2022 under the theme ‘Close the care gap’ through their respective Cancer Access Program.

The cancer programs build cancer care capacity by increasing the limited number of oncologists and developing multidisciplinary cancer care teams in the respective countries.

The Merck Foundation aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology by clinical training conducted in India, Egypt and Kenya.

It focuses on improving access to quality healthcare solutions in underserved communities as well as building healthcare and scientific research capacity.

African health ministries in collaboration with the foundation are providing fellowships, diplomas and Master degrees in oncology specialties for 90 African doctors from 25 Countries.

Recently, Merck provides scholarships for 2 years online PG Diploma in Cancer and Clinical Oncology from reputed universities of the United Kingdom.

The foundation has successfully trained the first African oncologists and cancer care teams in countries such as Sierra Leone, Burundi, Kenya, Chad, Burundi, Malawi, Niger, Namibia and Zimbabwe notably.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) GLOBOCAN cancer statistics, approximately 19.3 million new cancer cases and almost 10 million cancer deaths occurred worldwide in 2020.

It has been estimated that by 2030 there will be a 70% increase in new cancer cases due to population growth and aging,” distressed the IARC.

Despite rising incidence and mortality rates in Africa, cancer has been given low priority in the research field and healthcare services.

Africa suffers from a shortage of medical equipment, research resources and epidemiological expertise thus dire need for implementing more accurate preventive strategies.

The partnership between Merck and First Ladies is vital for the provision of cancer care in African countries for global cancer control.

The First Lady of The Gambia, H.E. Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah-barrow emphasized, “Through Merck Foundation training, we have the first-ever oncologists from our country which has changed the cancer care sector.”

The foundation targets at forming multidisciplinary oncology care teams in many countries by providing training in surgery oncology, pediatric oncology, gynecology oncology, radiation oncology to mention a few areas.

Merck Foundation is committed to leading Africa to a better future through transforming the landscape of cancer care in the continent.

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