Merck Foundation Builds Cancer Care Capacity In Ghana

Dr Rasha Kelej

Merck Foundation, together with its partners in Ghana have announced the provision of scholarship of oncology fellowship training for some selected medical practitioners under the Merck Cancer Access Program.

The move is aimed at increasing the limited number of trained oncologists in the country to improve patients’ access to quality and equitable cancer care.

The foundation made the announcement when it joined the rest of the world to mark the 2021 World Cancer Day, which is marked on February 4 every year.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej in a statement said, “I am very proud of this unique strategy as we are the only Foundation that focuses strongly on providing long term and specialty training in Oncology in different specialties to increase the limited number of trained oncologists in Africa.”

She said through partnering with the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, an Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother together with the Ministry of Health of Ghana, have provided scholarships of one-year and three-year master degree for three Ghanaian doctors to be the first oncologists and first cancer care team in Ghana.

Dr. Kelej further indicated that through the Program, Merck Foundation has provided scholarships to more than 64 Ghanaian doctors in different specialties including Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Sexual and Reproductive medicines, Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology, Respiratory medicine and Acute Medicine and Embryology.

“We have scaled up and strengthened our efforts and activities in more countries because we are committed to cancer care landscape transformation in the continent. Together we can fight Cancer Every Day and lead Africa to a Better Future.

Merck Foundation is making history by providing the first Paediatric Oncologists, and Medical Oncologist and first multidisciplinary cancer care team in Ghana,” she added.

Launched in 2016, the Merck Cancer Access Program provides One-, two- and three-years fellowship, master degree, and Diploma programs for African doctors in India, Egypt, Kenya, and Malaysia.

Merck Foundation also recently introduced 2 years online PG Diploma in Cancer and Clinical Oncology from the UK.

Merck Foundation through its Merck Cancer Access Program has till date trained 70 Oncology Care Specialists from 24 countries such as: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana.”

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri