Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation

After training its staff to be the First Fertility Care Team in Burundi

Merck Foundation in partnership with Burundi First Lady and Ministry of Health of Burundi, has provided 51 scholarships to our local doctors in critical and underserved specialties

GITEGA, Burundi, May 22, 2023/ — Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com) CEO acknowledges Burundi First Lady’s efforts as Ambassador of “More than a Mother” to build healthcare capacity, break infertility stigma, and support girl education; Merck Foundation provided around 50 scholarships to doctors in many critical and underserved medical specialties in Burundi; Merck Foundation Burundi Alumni Summit and Merck Foundation Awards Ceremony 2023 were conducted in Burundi chaired by Burundi First Lady and Merck Foundation CEO; After celebrating 2022 awards winners, Merck Foundation and Burundi First Lady announced the Call for Applications for 2 categories of 2023 includes 8 different Awards for Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany joined H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi & Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” together with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education of Burundi to inaugurate the First Public IVF center in Burundi and acknowledge its staff who have been trained by Merck Foundation scholarships to be the first fertility care team in Burundi.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of “More Than a Mother” Campaign emphasized, “I am very proud to be here today to celebrate such outstanding milestone, it is a history in the making, to train the first IVF and fertility care team in Burundi to be the staff of the first public IVF center established by my dear sister, Burundi First Lady. This is the best step to improve couples’ access to quality and equitable fertility care hence breaking infertility stigma around women and couples. I am proud to witness our Merck Foundation Alumni sharing their acquired knowledge and skills with other doctors and with media representative and community members with the aim to raise awareness about male infertility and infertility prevention and management. This kind of workshops is essential to create a culture shift and break the silence.”

“Today we are sharing with all the audiences in person and online the impact of our programs that aim to transform patient care, build healthcare and media capacity, break the stigma of infertility, empower women, support girl education in Burundi and the rest of Africa.

Moreover, we officially launched our programs in partnership with my dear sister, The First Lady of Burundi which started since started in 2020. We have achieved a lot in a very short time since then”, Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck Foundation in partnership with Burundi First Lady and Ministry of Health of Burundi, has provided 51 scholarships to our local doctors in critical and underserved specialties such as Diabetes, Endocrinology, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Oncology, Fertility & Embryology, Sexual & Reproductive health care, Acute care, and Respiratory care.

H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi & Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” emphasized “ I am very happy to meet and host Merck Foundation CEO and her team in our country. We started our joint programs in 2020 and are happy to officially launch these important programs, and also celebrate an important milestone of success and impact. We worked hard together with Merck Foundation over the past three years to make history by providing specialty training to first specialists in many fields in public sector hence transforming patent care landscape in our country.”

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Dr. Rasha Kelej further added, “I am proud to share that out of the total 51 scholarships, we have together provided 35 scholarships for Diabetes Master course and PG Diplomas in Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine. This has provided Burundi with its very first diabetes center which has been established by one of the graduates of Merck Foundation Master course.”

“For the Diabetes Master course in French and English, one young doctor from each province in Burundi has been enrolled. After completion, these Doctors can establish diabetes clinics in their respective Health centers or Hospitals with the aim to help prevent and manage the disease in their respective communities.” Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Moreover, during the launch program, Merck Foundation Burundi Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony was held, during which Merck Foundation CEO together with Burundi First Lady met and acknowledged the Merck Foundation Graduates and the Winners of the Merck Foundation Awards.

Merck Foundation in partnership with The Burundi First Lady has also initiated “Educating Linda” Program, which is very important for Burundi girls as through this program, scholarships are provided to 20 underprivileged but brilliant girls to continue their education till they graduate. Additionally, Merck Foundation distributed 3000 essential school items sets to school-going girls to support them.

Moreover, Merck Foundation CEO together with The First Lady of Burundi launched and signed together seven children’s storybooks titled: “David’s story” to emphasize and strengthen family values of love and respect from an early age, “Educating FIFI” to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education, “Make the Right Choice” to raise awareness about coronavirus prevention amongst children and youth, “Jackline’s Rescue” to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education, “Not Who You Are” to teach boys to love and respect their future wives and eliminate domestic violence, “Ride into the Future” to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education and “Sugar free Jude” to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness on the early detection and prevention of Diabetes. Thousands of copies of these storybooks have been distributed to school students of Burundi in partnership with Ministry of Education of Burundi.

Senator Rasha Kelej said, “It was lovely meeting and acknowledging our Merck Foundation Alumni who graduated to become the future healthcare experts of Burundi. It was also a pleasure to felicitate the Winners of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 Merck Foundation Awards from Burundi and discuss with them the critical role they can play to create a culture shift and to be the voice of the voiceless to be Merck Foundation health and social champions”.

Burundi winners of Merck Foundation Awards in partnership with The First Lady of Burundi, H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE & Ambassador of Merck Foundation ‘More Than a Mother’ are:

Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2022
Emelyne IRADUKUNDA, Le Renouveau du Burundi (First Position, PRINT Category)
BAZIZANE Mariam, Teach the World (Third Position, ONLINE Category)
Jeanine Nyabenda, Ijisho Web Site News TV (Third Position, RADIO Category)
Maurice Tuninahazimana, Radio Buntu (Third Position, RADIO Category)
Remy Rukundo, Radio Buntu (Third Position, RADIO Category)
Ferdinand Sengi, Lejournal.africa (First Position, MULTIMEDIA Category)
Jean Nepomuscene Irambona, Buntu TV (Second Position, MULTIMEDIA Category)
Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2022
Cyriaque NDAYISHIMIYE , Radio TV Buntu (Second Position, RADIO Category)
Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2021
Maurice Tuninahazimana, Radio Buntu (Special Award, RADIO Category)
Jean Nepomuscene Irambona, Buntu TV (First Position, MULTIMEDIA Category)
Cyriaque NDAYISHIMIYE , Radio TV Buntu (First Position, RADIO Category)
Innocent Ndihokubwayo, RADIO TV BUNTU (Third Position, RADIO Category)
MAGENDERO BENIGNE, RTV BUNTU BUYE (First Position, RADIO Category)
Jean-Bosco NTACONAYIGIZE, Radio TV Buntu (Special Award – ONLINE Category)
Ferdinand Sengi, Lejournal.africa (First Position, ONLINE Category)
Merck Foundation “Mask Up with Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021
Remy Rukundo, Radio Buntu (First Position, RADIO Category)
Cyriaque NDAYISHIMIYE , Radio TV Buntu (Second Position, RADIO Category)
Jeanine Nyabenda, Ijisho Web Site News TV (First Position, RADIO Category)
Jean-Bosco NTACONAYIGIZE, Radio TV Buntu (First Position – ONLINE Category)
Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother: Song Awards 2021
ITEKA LUCKY LOUANGE (Special Award- French Language)
Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2020
Remy Rukundo, Radio Buntu (First Position, RADIO Category)
Jean Nepomuscene Irambona, Buntu TV (Second Position, MULTIMEDIA Category)
Innocent Ndihokubwayo, RADIO TV BUNTU (Second Position, RADIO Category)
MAGENDERO BENIGNE, RTV BUNTU BUYE (Second Position, RADIO Category)
Paulette Mugisha, Radio TV Buntu (Third Position – RADIO Category)
NZEYIMANA Emelyne, Radio TV Buntu (Third Position, RADIO Category)
Merck Foundation “Stay At Home” Media Recognition Awards 2020
Ferdinand Sengi, Lejournal.africa (Third Position, ONLINE Category)
Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2019
Raphaël BIGIRIMANA, National Radio Television (Special Award, ONLINE Category)
Espérance NDAYISENGA, Radio Télévision Nationale du Burundi (Special Award, ONLINE Category)
Aimée NSHIMIRIMANA, Independent journalist (RADIO Category)
Schola Bigaranya, RADIO TELEVISION NATIONALE DU BURUNDI (Special Award, RADIO Category)
DUSHIME Ornella, Burundi/Bujumbura /Destiny Fm Radio (Special Award, RADIO Category)
MAHEBURWA Gaspard, Radio TV Buntu (Special Award, RADIO Category)
Divine Irakoze (Special Award, RADIO Category)
Merck Foundation also announced the Call for applications for their 8 important awards in partnership with The First Lady of Burundi for Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields. Details of the awards below:

  1. Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother” 2023: Media representatives and media students are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness about one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.
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Submission deadline: 30th September 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/40MAi5e) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2023:

All African Filmmakers, Students of Film Making Training Institutions, or Young Talents of Africa are invited to create and share a long or short FILMS, either drama, documentary, or docudrama to deliver strong and influential messages to address one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/3zDx1sW) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2023: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/3nVDAoj) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2023 All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to address one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/3ZKyUi9) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards 2023 “Diabetes & Hypertension”:

Media representatives are invited to showcase their work through strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle raise awareness about prevention & early detection of Diabetes & Hypertension.

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Submission deadline: 30th October 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/40yUJTn) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Film Awards 2023 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: All African Filmmakers, Students of Film Making Training Institutions or Young Talents of Africa are invited to create and share a long or short FILMS, either drama, documentary or docudrama to deliver strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/43c8poX) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards 2023 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/41dRh0l) to view more details.

  1. Merck Foundation Song Awards 2023 “Diabetes & Hypertension”: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to promote a healthy lifestyle raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2023. Click here (https://apo-opa.info/3KDU38v) to view more details.

Entries for all the awards are to be submitted via email to: submit@merck-foundation.com

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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.

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