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“Merck Africa Luminary” brings African Countries together to Contribute towards Building Healthcare Capacity in the Continent

  • Merck conducts its 3rd Luminary for the first time in Francophone Africa.
  • More than 350 African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers  from more than 25 countries attend “Merck Africa Luminary 2016” to benefit from several educational and social development sessions
  • “Merck More than a Mother” was launched in Francophone Africa with the aim to empower infertile women by improving access to information, health and to change of mind set.
  • Merck also announced the start of its Cancer Access Program which aims to improve cancer care throughout Africa.

Merck (, a leading science and technology company, today kicked off its third Merck Africa Luminary for the first time for Francophone and Anglophone Africa in Cote D’Ivoire.

In her inauguration speech, Her Excellency Dominique Ouattara, the First Lady of Cote D’Ivoire emphasized: “It gives me pleasure to participate in this year’s third Merck Africa Luminary which is being held for the first time in Francophone West Africa and has mobilised people from over 25 African countries for the social and economic development of Africa.”

“Our partnership with Merck that we are getting into today will build capacity for health care professionals and contribute to improving health management and facilitate access to existing and forthcoming healthcare solutions in Cote D’Ivoire and also in Africa,” she added.

During his inauguration speech, Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E.Merck KG emphasized “Merck is a value driven company and that is one of the reasons why Merck is committed to support the social and economic development of Africa by improving access to innovative and equitable healthcare in the continent.”

Belén Garijo, Member of Executive Board and CEO of Merck Healthcare emphasized: “Merck is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Health and Government of Côte d'Ivoire to provide improved access to healthcare as part of our long term commitment to the social and economic development in this country and in Africa at large. Merck will continue to work closely with African governments, healthcare stakeholders and academia to contribute to enhancing the quality of healthcare across the African continent.”

Merck has brought more than 350 African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers  from more than 25 Francophone and Anglophone African countries to benefit from valuable educational and social development sessions in both French and English languages with the aim to improve disease management, early detection and prevention with special focus on Diabetes, Hypertension, Cancer, Fertility and Life Science Research.

Minister of Health of Côte d'Ivoire, Dr. Raymonde Goudou Coffie stated at the event “We are delighted to host the annual “Merck Africa Luminary” for the first time in West Africa addressing Francophone African countries here in Cote D’Ivoire. Our strategic partnership with Merck will add value to our country not only for boosting the healthcare sector but also for the country’s economic progression.”

“Conducting Merck Africa Luminary in Côte d’Ivoire will add great value to Merck’s initiatives to build healthcare capacity in Francophone African countries. It will also enhance collaboration between Anglophone and Francophone countries across the continent. Moreover it will help to establish a network across Africa, America, Asia, and Europe to improve diseases awareness and the quality of healthcare, especially for non-communicable diseases,” said Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

During the Merck Africa Luminary, Merck launched the “Merck More than a Mother” campaign for Francophone African countries. The launch took place during a high-level panel officiated by Her Excellency Madame Brigitte Touadera, the first lady of the Central African Republic. The initiative aims to empower infertile women in Africa by improving their access to information, education and healthcare, and by changing mind-sets to de-stigmatize infertility.

”I am happy to champion the “Merck More than a Mother” initiative as it seeks to expand into Francophone Africa. I believe this initiative will contribute significantly towards eliminating the social suffering and stigmatization of infertile women and raise awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and the necessity for a team approach to family building among couples. This is very critical for my country and for Africa at large” said Madame Brigitte Touadera.

At this year’s Luminary Merck also announced the start of their “Cancer Access Program”. This aims to increase the number of qualified oncologists through providing an African medical oncology fellowship program in partnership with the University of Nairobi and Tata Memorial Hospital in India.

Merck has delivered healthcare services throughout Africa since 1897. Africa’s population is rising faster than that of other global markets and there is a growing middle class. The company is increasingly tapping into the continent’s innovative spirit to create health awareness and help respond to unmet medical needs. To underscore its commitment to Africa and in recognition of the continent’s rising importance, Merck has opened an office in Abidjan to serve as a hub for its business activities in Francophone Africa.

Merck Africa Luminary is an annual forum where African healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers meet to discuss and develop different strategies and programs to build healthcare capacity and improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions across the continent. The first Merck Africa Luminary was held in Darmstadt, Germany in 2014 and the second in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015. 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Merck.

About Merck Capacity Advancement Program- Merck CAP: The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a five-year program aiming to expand professional capacity in developing countries in the areas of research and development, advocacy building, supply-chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, medical education, and community awareness. It was established in 2012. Merck CAP signature initiatives include the following: Merck Universities Program, Merck Diabetes Day, Merck Cancer Access Program, Merck More than a Mother, UNESCO Merck Africa Research Summit. 

About Merck Cancer Access Program: Merck will start this program in Africa with two initiates:

1.    Merck Africa Medical Oncology Program The first Medical Oncology Fellowship Program for Sub-Saharan Africa to be held at University of Nairobi, Kenya and at Tata Memorial Center in India with the aim to increase the limited number of qualified oncologists in the continent.

2.    Merck More than a Patient initiative  In partnership with cancer patients’ organizations across Africa, this will support women cancer survivors to establish small businesses in order to re-build their independent lives and become productive members of society. 

About Merck More than a Mother: The aim is to empower infertile women in Africa through improving access to information, education and healthcare, and to change mind-sets around infertility. Please go to for more information. Merck More than a Mother Strategy and Objectives:

1.    Create a culture shift to de-stigmatize infertility and to build respect and understanding around infertile women in Africa.

2.    Raise awareness about infertility prevention management and male infertility by integrating the topics into existing healthcare infrastructure, such as HIV, maternal health, and mother and child programs.

3.    Education and training for African embryologists to build the needed capacity.

4.    Supporting policy makers to define artificial reproductive therapy (ART) policies to improve access to regulated fertility care.

5.    Building advocacy and open dialogue and working closely with governments, policy makers, parliaments, healthcare providers, fertility experts and the media to define interventions that will reduce social suffering and improve access to regulated, effective and safe fertility care in Africa.

6.    Empowering infertile women socially and economically through access to education and healthcare, and by changing mind-sets. For example, empowering women who cannot be treated by helping them to start a small business through the “Empowering Berna" project. 

About Merck Universities Program: The program provides European accredited diabetes and hypertension management for medical undergraduates and postgraduates from African universities. It enables them to become diabetes and hypertension ambassadors across the continent, especially in rural areas. More than 12,000 medical students from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda have benefited from this program and we aim to reach 25,000 by 2018. Merck launched the “Merck Diabetes Award” and the “Merck Hypertension Award” in March 2016 as part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program for Africa and Asia with the aim to build a platform of diabetes and hypertension experts across the globe. 

UNESCO Merck Africa Research Summit: The program aims to bring together researchers from across Africa to discuss the generation, sharing and dissemination of research data and to prepare for the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for research excellence and scientific innovation. Please go to for more information.  To read more about Merck in Africa, go to 

About Merck: Merck ( is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck generated sales of € 12.85 billion in 66 countries. Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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