Merck Foundation and Tata Memorial Centre to build cancer care capacity in Africa

Through this partnership with India, Merck Foundation also aims to provide one-year oncology fellowship training for African doctors

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Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany and the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), a premier cancer centre in India, announced the signing of an MOU, aimed to provide fellowship program to Africa candidates.

This initiative is a part of Merck Foundation’s ‘Merck Cancer Access Program’ that has been initiated by the Merck Foundation to increase the limited number of oncologists across Africa.

Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation said, “We are delighted to formalise today our collaboration with the Tata Memorial Centre under the umbrella of newly launched Merck Foundation. We have started our collaboration in 2016, during these two years, we have provided more than 30 African doctors with one-year oncology fellowship at Tata Memorial Centre. We believe that our partnership with India has a long way to go and together we can play a vital role in Africa and Asia.”

“I strongly believe that building capacity is the right strategy to improve cancer care since lack of professional skills is the key challenge in Africa and developing countries,” Dr Kelej added.

Prof. Dr K.S Sharma, Director (Academics), Tata Memorial Centre said, “We are pleased to announce our partnership with Merck Foundation to supporting Merck Foundation in building cancer care capacity in Asian and African countries. The collaboration in the field of academics will effectively enhance the capabilities to prevent, detect and treat the rising cases of cancer in these countries.”

“We are planning to expand the cancer care capacities in more cities like Punjab, UP, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Assam. TMC will be able to train more doctors, nurses, and technicians from Low and middle-income countries,” Dr Sharma added.

In 2017 alone, Merck Fondation initiated the following activities in partnership with academia, ministries of health and the offices of First Ladies in more than 35 countries:

Merck cancer access program

Over 30 African physicians received oncology fellowship programmes spanning one to two years, in a bid to help increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.

Merck more than a mother

More than 50 candidates received three-month hands-on training to be embryologists and fertility specialists in Africa and Asia to improve quality, regulated and safe fertility care in developing countries.

Merck diabetes and hypertension awards

Over 50 medical postgraduates will receive a one-year online diploma in diabetes or preventive cardiovascular medicines, as part of the effort to establish a platform of diabetes and hypertension experts in Africa and Asia.