Merck Foundation urges government to invest in training of oncologists

Merck Foundation an international NGO has called on Government to invest more in the training of oncologists to treat the increasing number of cancer patients.

The Foundation which has since 2016 been offering scholarship and fellowship opportunities to African doctors says investing in the sector is the only way to fight Cancer.

In a statement to mark world Cancer Day CEO of Merck Foundation Dr. Rasha Kelej said with the right investment Ghana can fight Cancer and lead Africa to a better future.

According to her, Merck Foundation with the support of the First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo Addo and the Ministry of Health of Ghana, has taken the lead to provide scholarship and fellowship training to build cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of trained oncologists and improve patients’ access to quality & equitable cancer care in Ghana and rest of Africa.

She said through the programmes Merck Foundation has provided scholarships of one-year and three-year master degree for 3 Ghanaian doctors to be the first oncologists and first cancer care team in Ghana.

The Foundation has also provided scholarship of oncology training for more than 70 doctors from 24 African countries, many of whom have become the first oncologists in their countries.

Dr Kalej said Merck has also scaled up and strengthened efforts and activities in more countries due to its committed to cancer care landscape transformation on the continent.

She added that more than 64 Ghanaian Doctors in different specialties including Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Sexual and Reproductive medicines, Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology, Respiratory medicine and Acute Medicine and Embryology have also received scholarships.

On the African continent, Merck Foundation through its Merck Cancer Access Program has trained 70 Oncology Care Specialists from 24 countries such as: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana.

STORY BY: DOREEN AMPOFO

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