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Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) announce the Partnership journey with Namibia First Lady from 2019 to 2023 to Transform Patient Care, Empower Infertile Women & Support Girl Education

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Merck Foundation ( and Namibia First Lady meet during the 9th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 to approve their future strategy and announce their impact report and call for action to build healthcare capacity and empower women & girls in Namibia; Merck Foundation is transforming the Patient care landscape and making history together with The First Lady of Namibia and other partners in Africa, Asia, and beyond. Watch the Partnership journey here:; Watch the overview of the 2-day Hybrid 9th Edition of the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 here:

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, recently conducted their annual conference, the 9th Edition of “Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary”. The conference was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees, and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary, and H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” along with African First Ladies of Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Angola and Central Africa.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej expressed, “I proud of our long-term partnership with H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother”, that started in 2019. We have together achieved a lot together in this short duration.

Together we have provided 60 Scholarships to young Namibian doctors in critical and underserved medical specialties like Oncology, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Respiratory and Acute Medicine, Trauma and Orthopedics, Critical Care, Psychiatry, Clinical Microbiology and Infectious diseases, Dermatology in Clinical Practice, Internal Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. We will continue to build healthcare capacity in Namibia.”

H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” shared, “I am very happy to have this ongoing long-term beneficial partnership with Merck Foundation. I am particularly excited as More Than a Mother Ambassador, as together we have been doing amazing work in the country to empower women living with infertility through access to information, education, information, change of mindset and economic empowerment. Moreover, 60 scholarships have been provided to young Namibian doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory Medicines, Acute Medicines and Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, and many more. For Namibia, 2.4M population, we will soon have more than 18 skilled and trained doctors nationwide, to assist couples living with infertility or need any sexual & reproductive help, this will be a significant contribution towards improving women health in general and reproductive health in specific. This is a big achievement for us”.

Watch the video of Merck Foundation partnership journey with Namibia First Lady:

The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother during the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 here:

Watch the video of Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej receiving Namibia First Lady, Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS:

On day 2 of the Luminary, Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative- MFFLI committee meeting was also conducted between The First Ladies and Merck Foundation Chairman and CEO. During the MFFLI committee meeting, a reading session of Children’s storybooks created by Merck Foundation, ‘Jackline’s Rescue’ – to focus on the importance of Girl Education and highlight the immoral practices of society including child marriage & dowry system; and ‘A Ride Into The Future’ – to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education, was also held.

Watch the video of MFFLI committee meeting:

During the Luminary, a meeting between The First Lady of Namibia and Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej was also held to discuss the impact of on-going programs and define strategies to further build healthcare and media capacity in Namibia.

Together with Namibia First Lady, Merck Foundation has provided 60 scholarships to Namibian doctors, out of which 15 scholarships for PG Diploma and MSc in Diabetes to strengthen diabetes care in the country, Endocrinology and Cardiovascular Medicine to young doctors from different provinces in Namibia.

Merck Foundation has also provided 2 scholarships for Oncology program. Out of the two, one has completed the Fellowship program and one is undergoing the master’s degree Program. Also, 10 scholarships have been provided for PG Diploma and MSc in Acute Medicine14 scholarships for Respiratory Medicine, Dermatology in Clinical Practice, Trauma and Orthopedics, Critical Care, Psychiatry, Clinical Microbiology and infectious diseases, Internal Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, and Pediatric Emergency MedicinePediatric and Child Health, Cardiology and Women’s Health.

Considering the significance of Gynecologists, and to significantly improve Women’s Health in general and Reproductive Health in particular, 19 scholarships have been provided for PG Diploma and MSc in Sexual and Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Training. The expertise of trained doctors will help to add significant value to women’s health and enhance the quality of healthcare system for addressing fertility and infertile couples across Namibia.

Merck Foundation, together with Namibia First Lady and Fertility experts, has developed awareness, information materials media kit that sperate myths from facts about infertility prevention, early detection, male infertility and fertility management to break the stigma around women with infertility since they are subject to abuse and discrimination due to the harsh cultural and social perception of infertility in Africa, as we all know. 

As a part of ‘Educating Linda’ Program, Merck Foundation has also supported the education of 20 high-performing Namibian schoolgirls and distributed 3000 sets of essential school items to young Namibian students.

Together, Merck Foundation has launched “Empowering Berna” program, to establish small businesses in order to empower women who are living with infertility stigma, so they become independent, stronger, and happier. This program has helped many women until today.

Moreover, in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia, Merck Foundation has also launched seven children’s storybooks, “Paulus’s story”, ‘Educating Ndeshipanda” and “Make the Right Choice”, “Jackline’s Rescue”, “Not Who You Are”, “Ride into the Future” and “Sugar free Jude”. 30,000 copies of the storybooks have been distributed to school students of Namibia; more copies will also be distributed soon. The storybooks address various social and health issues like breaking infertility stigma, supporting girl education, coronavirus awareness, stopping GBV and diabetes awareness.

Merck Foundation, in partnership with The First Lady of Namibia also announced the Call for applications for their 8 important awards for Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields. Through these awards, the aim is to encourage young talents and youth in Namibia to create and innovate messages in their art and daily work to create awareness about sensitive issues like Break Infertility Stigma, Support Girl Education, Stop Gender Based Violence, End Child Marriage, End FGM, and Women Empowerment at all levels and raise awareness about early detection & prevention of Diabetes & Hypertension.

The 9th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2022 was streamed live on the social media handles of Merck Foundation ( Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej (

Link to the Facebook live steam of Inaugural Session of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary & African First Ladies High Level Panel:

Merck Foundation is transforming the Patient care landscape and making history together with its partners in Africa, Asia, and beyond, through:

• 1580 + Scholarships provided by Merck Foundation for doctors from 50 Countries in 36 critical and underserved medical specialties.  

Merck Foundation is also creating a culture shift and breaking the silence about a wide range of social and health issues in Africa and underserved communities through:

• 2500+ Media Persons from more than 50 countries trained to better raise Awareness about different social and health issues

• 8 Different Awards Launched annually for best media coverage, fashion designers, films, and songs

• Around 30 songs to address health and social issues by local singers across Africa

• 8 Children’s Storybooks in three languages – English, French, and Portuguese

• Pan African TV Program “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” addressing Social and Health Issues in Africa through “Fashion and ART with Purpose” Community

• 1000+ Girls from 15 African countries supported through scholarships or school items, annually.

• 9 Social Media Channels with more than 5 Million Followers.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

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Media contact:
Mehak Handa 
Community Awareness Program Manager 
+91 9310087613/ +91 9319606669

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About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website. Please visit to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (; Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram (, YouTube (, and Flickr (

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