Accra – First Lady Clar Marie Weah says Liberia needs more support to boost the country’s development efforts, especially in the health sector.
According to a dispatch from Accra, Mrs. Weah, addressing a High-Level First Ladies Panel at the ongoing 6th Edition of the Merck Africa Asia Luminary in Ghana, said such support would lift the sector to international standards.
“We as a nation require all the necessary help to push our country and people to maximize our health care capacity thereby making us more competitive in the health sector,” the Liberian First Lady asserted.
Mrs. Weah praised Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, for its support in building the health care capacity by training doctors and specialists to address cancer and infertility among others.
She pointed out that in less than a year of partnering with Merck Foundation at least 13 Liberians have been enrolled in the Foundation’s one and two-year oncology fellowship and master degree programs for specialization in medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation, gynecology, pediatric oncology and pathology at selected institutions in India and Egypt.
The Liberian First Lady also disclosed that about 7 doctors and biotechnologists, two of whom have already graduated, are benefiting from Merck’s fertility specialist and embryologist training program.
Upon completion of their training, the 13 candidates will be Liberia’s first oncologistsand form the country’s first cancer care team while the team of 7 doctors and biotechnologists will become the first fertility specialists and embryologists in the country for the first time in Liberia.
“We are really making history in Liberia together,” Mrs. Weah told Merck Foundation while looking forward to doing more through their partnership.”
Merck Foundation, under its campaign – “Merck More Than a Mother” partners with African First Ladies, who are appointed “Ambassadors of Merck More Than a Mother,” to raise awareness about infertility and break the stigma around infertile women.
Expressing delight over the collaboration among the First Ladies to make a significant impact in their respective countries and the continent, she challenged them to make maximum use of the “Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative”.
“It is our role as First Ladies, to establish such strong and long term partnership with serious organizations such as Merck foundation and to capitalize on this opportunity to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions for our respective communities,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rasha Kelej commended the First Ladies for the exceptional work they continue to do in their respective countries. Dr. Kelej also pledged Merck Foundation’s continued support to the First Ladies.
The ongoing sixth edition of the Merck Africa Asia Luminary which is co-chaired by the First Lady of Ghana, Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Merck Foundation CEO Dr. Kelej was officially inaugurated by Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The two-day event which also marks Merck Foundation’s 2nd anniversary brings to First Ladies, Ministers of Health, Information, Education, Gender, policymakers, experts and international fertility societies along with the media among others from nearly 60 countries.