Merck Foundation CEO and Burundi First Lady co-chaired 2021 Annual Summit to Discuss Their Programs to Transform Patient Care in Burundi

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Mumbai, Maharashtra, India & Gitega, Burundi– Business Wire India CEO of Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, and H.E. Mrs. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi & Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother, co-chaired 2021 Annual Summit via videoconference to discuss their joint programs to transform patient care landscape in Burundi via building healthcare capacity and raising awareness about breaking infertility stigma and support girl education.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very proud to meet the 40 Merck Foundation’s Alumni in Burundi and discuss their impact on improving the quality of healthcare in the country after receiving specialized medical scholarships provided by Merck Foundation. Moreover, celebrating the winners of the Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards and discussing their work as champions of raising awareness about infertility stigma, supporting girl education, and raising awareness about the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.” In partnership with Burundi First Lady, Merck Foundation has provided till today, 40 scholarships of specialty training in many critical and underserved specialties for young Burundian doctors with the aim to transform the landscape of patient care in the country. 32 medical graduates have been enrolled in the fields of Diabetes, Fertility & Embryology, Oncology, and Sexual and Reproductive Health.

H.E. Mrs. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother expressed, “I am very proud that together with Merck Foundation, we made history by providing training to the first Oncologist, Fertility specialists and Embryologists in Burundi. Another 8 medical graduates have been already selected to be enrolled in PG Diploma courses in many new underserved specialties including Cancer and Clinical Oncology, Endocrinology, and Diabetes, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Neonatal Medicine, Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine; who will be the first specialists in their fields. This is an amazing achievement for our country. We will continue our efforts to provide medical scholarships to more young doctors from Burundi in the next 10 years.” “I am very happy and proud of my association with our partner Merck Foundation. Their programs are very valuable and have brought about a significant impact in the public healthcare scenario, thus contributing to the social and economic development of Burundi,” The First Lady of Burundi added.

“We are looking forward to creating a strong medical army in Burundi with our partnership with Burundi First Lady and Ministry of Health. We have been able to work closely together to address sensitive and health issues such as infertility stigma and empowering girls through education,” Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck Foundation together with Burundi First Lady has also launched their important program “Educating Linda” to sponsor the education of 20 best performing girls in their secondary schools every year. This is a very important initiative to empower girls in education.

Moreover, Merck Foundation and Burundi First Lady have together launched three children storybooks; “David’s story” to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from a young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and resulted in domestic violence in the future, “Educating FIFI” story to cover the importance of empowering girls through education and “Make the Right Choice” story to raise awareness about coronavirus prevention amongst children and youth as it provides facts about the pandemic and how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak. It also promotes honesty, hard work, and the ability to make the right choices even during the most challenging times.

30,000 copies of the three storybooks have been distributed to young readers, school students of Burundi, with the aim to raise awareness about Covid 19, support girl education and break the infertility stigma and emphasize family values of love and respect.

Merck Foundation and Burundi First Lady also announced 6 Awards for Media, Fashion, Film, and Music fraternity. Speaking about the awards, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej explained, “After celebrating 14 Burundi Media Winners of the first editions of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2019-20 and “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards 2020, we are very excited to launch together with Her Excellency, the 2021 edition of Merck Foundation awards for our media, fashion, film making, and music fraternity to raise awareness on the important topics of breaking the stigma around infertility, underscoring the importance of girls’ education and women empowerment at all levels. Together, we are also announcing the Coronavirus theme-based awards as this will help in raising awareness about continuing the best practices and also show support to our frontline workers in the country.” The awards winners of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” Africa Media Recognition Awards 2020 are: Multimedia Category • Jean NépomuscèneIrambona, Radio TV Buntu, Second Position RADIO CATEGORY • Remy Rukundo, Radio TV Buntu, First Position • Magendero Bénigne, Radio TV Buntu, Second Position • Innocent Ndihokubwayo, Radio TV Buntu, Second Position • Paulette Mugisha, Radio TV Buntu, Third Position • NZEYIMANA Emelyne, Radio TV Buntu, Third Position The awards winners of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” Africa Media Recognition Awards 2019 are: Online Category • Raphaël BIGIRIMANA, National Radio TV • Espérance NDAYISENGA, National Radio TV RADIO CATEGORY • Aimée NSHIMIRIMANA, Indépendent Journalist • Schola Bigaranya, Radio TV Buntu • DUSHIME Ornella, Destiny FM Radio • MAHEBURWA Gaspard, Radio TV Buntu • Divine Irakoze The awards winners of “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards 2020 awards are: • Bahwa Ferdinand, Le Journal.Africa, Third Position The Awards for 2021 launched are: 1. Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother”: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

2. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Filmmakers and Students are invited to create and share a FILM or a DOCUDRAMA to deliver strong and influential messages to break Infertility stigma, and /or Empowering Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

3. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and/or Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

4. Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to Empower Girls and Women through Education and at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th August 2021. Click here to view more details.

5. Merck Foundation “Mask Up With Care” Media Recognition Awards 2021: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness on how to adapt best protection measures such as wearing masks to show care and love towards family members & community; to encourage the community to choose to vaccinate when it is available and to sensitize them to support healthcare workers who are at the forefront of COVID 19 pandemic.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2021. Click here to view more details.

6. Merck Foundation “Make Your Own Mask” Fashion Awards 2021: All African Fashion Designers and Students are invited to create and share designs of masks and other clothing items that carry messages to encourage people to wear masks to show they care and at the same time make it creative and fun! Submission deadline: 30th September 2021. Click here to view more details.

Entries for all the awards to be submitted via email to submit@merck-foundation.com About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are: H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as; • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Song Awards • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it • Children storybook, localized for each country Click on the link below to Download Merck Foundation App https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.merck.foundation&hl=en Join the conversation on our social media platforms below and let your voice be heard Facebook: Merck Foundation Twitter: @Merckfoundation YouTube: MerckFoundation Instagram: Merck Foundation Flickr: Merck Foundation Website: www.merck-foundation.com 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 www.merck-foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flicker.

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