Merck (www.MerckGroup.com), a leading science and technology company, marks today “World Cancer Day” by raising awareness on cancer early detection and prevention through their social media campaign in collaboration with academia and cancer patient societies in Africa. Merck also supports women cancer survivors and builds cancer care capacity in Africa, contributing to what ‘We Can’ do together to reduce the global burden of cancer.
Merck joined hands with partners to harness the power of social media to raise awareness on cancer early detection and prevention, support women cancer survivors and build cancer care capacity in Africa. These efforts are contributing to what ‘We Can’ do together to reduce the global burden of cancer in developing countries.
Merck Cancer Access Program starts in Africa with three initiatives:
- Social media campaign to raise awareness on cancer.
- “Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program” in Kenya and India to increase the limited number of oncologists in the continent.
- “Merck More than a Patient” to empower women cancer survivors.
Through ‘Merck More than a Patient’, a new initiative of Merck Cancer Access Program in Africa in partnership with “Women For Cancer” we support women cancer survivors to establish their own small business so that they can lead an independent and productive life.
“I am very happy that ‘Merck More than a Patient’ has this positive impact on these women’s lives. Through our collaboration with cancer patients associations and cancer institutions across Africa, we aim to help uplift women cancer survivors to reclaim their lives and become active contributors to the economy – and by doing so, they can now give back to the society through their new businesses. They will become more than cancer patients. In addition to our efforts we will raise awareness about early detection and prevention especially addressing cancer in women,” says Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.
Benda Kithaka and Co-Founder and Board Chair of Women For Cancer Early Detection & Treatment emphasizes: “We are grateful to Merck for the continued support towards Women 4 Cancer survivors and our recent collaboration through the ‘Merck More than a Patient’ initiative. The cancer patients are also appreciative that Merck is assisting them to make strides in gaining financial independence beyond their cancer survivorship.”
Merck addresses the myths and stigma associated with cancer with a special focus on women to empower communities to access accurate cancer information, which should result in behaviour change coupled with adoption of health seeking behaviour for quality cancer prevention and care.
In an effort to improve access to cancer care and build a quality workforce, Merck partners with the University of Nairobi, Kenya and Tata Memorial Hospital, India to conduct “Merck Africa Medical Oncology Fellowship Program” for Sub-Saharan Africa as part of Merck Cancer Access Program.
“Engagement in cancer care needs a substantial improvement in infrastructure and increase in the number of specialized workforce, which does not exist in many, if not most, Sub-Saharan African countries. For example, in Kenya there are only 13 oncologists, most of them based in Nairobi for population of 47 million which means one oncologist per 3.6 million people, while in United Kingdom there are around 13 oncologists per 1 million people. Moreover, in Ethiopia there are only four oncologists, all based in Addis Ababa for a population of around 100 million. Therefore this Fellowship Program is very critical for improving access to cancer care in Africa as oncologists are very few here and sadly they only tend to work in the capital cities,” Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare adds.
Watch the videos below of the first candidates of ‘Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program’ in India and Kenya as they share their experiences.