Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Merck Foundation ( marks World Cancer Day with African First Ladies by providing 140 scholarships of Oncology Training to African doctors from 28 countries; Merck Foundation marks World Cancer Day together with Africa First Ladies and Ministries of Health through building cancer care capacity and increasing the limited number of oncologists in their countries by providing more than 140 Scholarships of One-, two- and three-years fellowship, diploma and Master Degree of oncology to African doctors from 28 Countries; Merck Foundation is making history in Africa by training the first African Oncologists and first cancer care teams in countries such as The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Central African Republic, Chad, Burundi, Malawi, Niger, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and more.

Like every year, Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks ‘World Cancer Day 2024’ themed ‘Close the care gap’ together with Africa’s First Ladies and Ministries of Health through their Cancer Access Program to build quality and equitable cancer care capacity in Africa with the aim to increase the limited number of Oncologists and develop the first multidisciplinary cancer care teams across the continent.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck Foundation, highlighted, “We mark World Cancer Day together with Africa’s First Ladies, not just on a specific day, but every day and every year through transforming and advancing cancer care in Africa by enhancing professional capacity and improving  access to high-quality and equitable cancer care throughout the continent. I am proud to share that Merck Foundation together with African First Ladies is successfully increasing the limited number of Oncologists in Africa by providing 140 scholarships to young African doctor from 28 countries.

We are making history together by providing these important scholarships for the first oncologists and /or the first cancer care teams in many countries across Africa”.  

Merck Foundation in total provided more than 1700 scholarships to doctors from over 50 countries in 42 critical and underserved medical specialties.

Launched in 2016, the Merck Foundation Cancer Access Program provides One, two- and three-years fellowship, Post Graduate Diploma and Master Degree of oncology for doctors from Africa. The clinical training has been conducted in India, Egypt and Kenya. Additionaly, Merck Foundation also provides scholarships for 2 years online PG Diploma in Cancer and Clinical Oncology, 01 year online PG Diploma in Medical Oncology and 1 year online PG Diploma in Pain Management from reputed Universities in UK like University of South Wales, University of Buckingham, Queen Mary University of London, Cardiff University and The University of Edinburgh.

Merck Foundation is establishing Multidisciplinary Oncology Care teams in many African countries by providing scholarships of clinical training in Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Pediatrics Oncology, Gynecology Oncology, Breast Oncology, Haemato-Oncology, Orthopaedic Oncology, Palliative Care, Pathology Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Research in Oncology, Surgical Oncology – Genital Urinary System, Advanced Cytopathology Training, Interventional Radiology, Radiation Technician, Laboratory Technician, Oncology Nursing.

Merck Foundation through its Merck Foundation Cancer Access Program has provided 141 scholarships of Oncology to doctors from 28 countries which are: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“In some of these countries, there was not even a single Oncologist, therefore, we are proud that we are making history in Africa through training the first Oncologists and First Cancer Care teams in many countries such as; The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Central African Republic, Chad, and Niger. Merck Foundation is committed to leading Africa to a better future through transforming the landscape of Cancer care in the continent”, explained Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

As per WHO data, every year, Africa records around 1.1 million new cases of cancer, resulting in up to 700,000 deaths. The mortality rate cancer patients is very high in Africa, as compared to the rest of the world. One of the key reason is also the late diagnosis of the disease. Moreover, Africa has only 3% of the world’s cancer treatment facilities.

Therefore, through their Cancer Access and Oncology Fellowship Program, Merck Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people and has been transforming the cancer care landscape and making history together with its partners in Africa, Asia, and beyond.

Merck Foundation has also created awareness materials including awareness leaflets and videos on Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.

Dr. Mahamat Saleh Mahamat Baldass, Merck Foundation Oncology Alumni from Chad says, “I am the first Chadian Medical Oncologist of the country. I have benefitted from the One-year Oncology Fellowship training conducted at Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India, offered to me by Merck Foundation. Two of my colleagues have benefitted from the three-month hands-on training in Oncology Nursing and Onco-pathology. The training I received has helped me in treating cancer patients in my country who either had to travel abroad for treatment (often very expensive), or simply gave up the hope to live. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Merck Foundation for giving me this opportunity.”

Dr. Sylvestre Bazikamwe, Merck Foundation Alumni from Burundi shares, “I have completed One-year Fellowship in Gynae-Oncology from the prestigious Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, offered to me by Merck Foundation. I am now working towards a new Gynae-Oncology operating room and am also training my entire team so that we can offer various surgical treatments at the earliest possible. We intend to focus on early detection and optimum management of gynaecological cancers. I am spreading awareness about gynaecological cancers and their possible therapies amongst all my colleagues at the University of Burundi. I am very grateful to Merck Foundation for their priceless contribution towards cancer care.”

Watch testimonials videos of Merck Foundation Oncology Fellowship Alumni:

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  
[email protected] 

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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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