Liberia: First Lady Weah Solidifies Partnership with Merck Foundation

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Advocates for Infant and Maternal Hospital for Liberia

Monrovia – First Lady Clar Marie Weah remains unbending in her commitment to leading and supporting initiatives aimed at improving the welfare of the underprivileged including women, girls, and children of Liberia.

Eagerly wanting to do more despite her numerous impactful and life-transformative interventions including the ongoing construction of City of Hope, She’s You Personal and Menstrual Hygiene Initiative, the Back-to-School Program, Feeding of the Elderly, and the rehabilitation and support to orphanages, Mrs. Weah is poised to build a modern health facility.

The construction of a hospital that would specialize in exclusively addressing the health needs of women and children, while combatting conditions like maternal and neonatal mortality, infertility, and HIV/AIDS mother-to-child transmission among others, has long been a burning desire of the First Lady and she has since been advocating for it.

Speaking recently during the 9th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary Conference and 5th Anniversary in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Mrs. Weah craved the philanthropic organization’s support to boost women and children’s health in Liberia through the provision of a specialized hospital.

“We seek your prayers and support for the construction of a State-of-the-Art Health Facility that would provide Maternal and Infant care to a nation whose health system was literally destroyed during the years of civil war,” Mrs. Weah asserted.

“Such a facility is urgently needed and we need your response in the affirmative,” she added, pleading with the Merck Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Also embedded in the Liberian First Lady‘s plea, was an invitation, expressing her warmest desire for Dr. Rasha Kelej to visit Liberia and have a first-hand appreciation of Liberia’s development and the impact of Merck Foundation’s support.

A day later, the request received an immediate affirmative response during a tete-a-tete between the Liberian First Lady and Merck Foundation CEO in which Dr. Kelej accepted the invitation.

During that meeting, the two prominent ladies praised their partnership, reflected on their common passion for girls and women, and discussed new avenues to improve the lives of girls and women in Liberia and across Africa.

Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA, Germany that aims to improve the health and well-being of people and advance their lives through science and technology.

Since forging a partnership with the Liberian First Lady, Clar M. Weah, as one of its “More Than A Mother Ambassadors”, Merck Foundation has tremendously supported Liberia’s health system, especially through the training of health practitioners among others.

Recounting such support, Mrs. Weah noted that Merck Foundation’s interventions ‘have yielded great results in building the capacity, providing relevant training to our healthcare providers at all levels.’

She disclosed that “over 35 Liberian Doctors were undergoing specialty training which would result in the acquisition of Diplomas and Master degrees in many critical areas.”

The critical areas include Diabetes, Cardiovascular, Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, Endocrinology, Respiratory and Acute Medicines, Oncology and Fertility Specialists, and Embryology.

“Liberia again, is making history and I am proud to be that conduit to make this happen through the Merck Foundation,” First Lady Weah said delightedly, as she showered praises on Dr. Kelej.

“Liberia owes you (DR. Rasha Kelej) and the Merck Foundation a debt of gratitude as we appreciate our partnership with Merck Foundation and acknowledge their smart and serious strategies to provide specialty training for our local doctors, even before this global crisis, so that they can provide the quality healthcare required by our people in the near future as Liberia continues to make great strides in building a robust healthcare system.

“In fact, my dear Dr. Kelej, your love, and commitment coupled with the outstanding interventions being made through the Merck Foundation continue to echo throughout Liberia and I am glad to serve as a conduit to make such achievable.”

The Merck event brought together several African First Ladies who are also ambassadors of Merck More Than a Mother.

Mrs. Weah used the opportunity to hail the cordiality among fellow first ladies and called for further solidifying of the subsisting partnership, a spirit of collectivism, and a united front to make a significant impact in their respective countries and the whole world through the Merck Foundation First Ladies’ Initiative.

“It is our role as First Ladies to establish such strong and long-term partnerships with thoughtful organizations such as Merck Foundation and to capitalize on this opportunity to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions for our communities,” Mrs. Weah intoned.

“What we as First Ladies through the Merck Foundation do in our respective countries for our people are the things that continue to make a difference and I am proud to be an active part of this great movement.

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