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  • High-level panel of Merck Foundation CEO, Senator Rasha Kelej, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, H.E. Mrs. FATIMA MAADA BIO and The Vice President of Liberia, H.E. Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor to discuss efforts to empower women and support girl education
  • Merck Foundation CEO recognizes the efforts of the First Lady of Sierra Leone as the Ambassador of “More Than a Mother” campaign

​Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany met H.E. DR. JULIUS MAADA BIO, The President of Sierra Leone and H.E. Mrs. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone and Ambassador of Merck Foundation ‘More Than a Mother’, during her visit to Sierra Leone and participating as guest of honor at the 10th African reproductive and sexual rights of women.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” was invited by the First Lady of Sierra Leone to participate at the 10th African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights hosted by the Office of the First Lady in Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone, to deliver the keynote speech to advocate for women reproductive and sexual health and rights, during a high-level Meeting themed – Women Renaissance and closing ceremony chaired by the president of Sierra Leone.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “It was a great honor for me to join this high-level panel with the First Lady of Sierra Leone, H.E. Mrs. FATIMA MAADA BIO and The Vice President of Liberia, H.E. Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor, to discuss our efforts to empower women and support girl education and improve their access to health, information and change of mindset. I also spoke about Merck Foundation programs to build healthcare capacity through providing more than 43 scholarships for doctors from Sierra Leone in 32 critical medical specialties; especially that is related to women’s health and reproductive health such as fertility specialty, embryology and sexual & reproductive care and also other specialties like Oncology, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Orthopedics, Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Clinical Psychiatry, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, Respiratory Medicine and Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine. Most of these doctors are first in their specialties, we are making history together. I was also proud to share about the progress of our ‘Educating Linda’ and “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” Campaign to support girl education and break infertility stigma respectively.”

Merck Foundation CEO awarded The First Lady of Sierra Leone to acknowledge her efforts as the Ambassador of Merck Foundation ‘More than a Mother’ campaign.

H.E. Mrs. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” campaign emphasized, “It has been an honor to host and meet my dear sister Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation in person in my country after a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very proud of our long-term partnership with Merck Foundation, the programs we work on are very close to my heart. Our partnership with Merck Foundation has brought about a significant positive change in our public healthcare landscape and patient care quality of Sierra Leone.”

During her visit, Merck Foundation CEO joined the First Lady of Sierra Leone for a formal visit to Hospital 34 renovation. “I am impressed to witness the high quality and speed of the hospital work. I am looking forward to collaborate through Merck Foundation programs and continue our long term commitment to train young doctors, nurses and technicians especially in Oncology to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care,” expressed Dr. Kelej.

During her visit, Merck Foundation CEO acknowledged Merck Foundation Alumni who are the future healthcare experts of Sierra Leone.

Merck Foundation CEO also shared the efforts they made to provide more than 1300 scholarships to doctors from 45 countries in 32 critical and underserved specialties, which she believes has and will still have huge impact on transforming the quality and accessibility of patient care in those 45 countries.



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