LUSAKA. Zambia/INDIA. Mumbai: The Merck Foundation Africa-Asia Luminary will next week hold its 8th Edition annual conference, in which it is expected to host 19 African First Ladies across the continent.
The edition will be co-chaired by H.E. Esther Lungu, First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.
According to a press statement released earlier this week; the President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Edgar Lungu, and Chairman of Merck KG executive board, Prof Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp will officially inaugurate the summit, which will be held virtually.
As part of the team of the coming luminary, 19 African First Ladies will be the Guests of Honor; and Ministers of Health, Gender, Information, Education, and Science & Technology from 25 African countries are also expected to participate. More than 2000 healthcare providers, policymakers, and media correspondents from over 70 countries will also benefit from the summit.
Emphasis on the building of the healthcare capacity
Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation was happy to invite all the participants reiterating building the healthcare capacity.
“We are proud to welcome our Guests of Honors and Keynote Speakers, the First Ladies of 19 African Countries and African Ministers of different sectors from more than 25 countries. Together, we will discuss our strategy to build healthcare capacity and establish a strong platform of specialized trained medical experts to be the first in their countries and to define interventions to break infertility stigma and support girl education,’’ Said Dr. Kelej.
Dr. Rasha Kelej also emphasized on the importance of the rest of the participants from different realms but keep tabs on healthcare solutions and also took time to also welcome the African Presidents’ wives.
“This annual scientific and social education program will also engage healthcare providers, academia, and media in an open dialogue and deliberations on various topics with the aim to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare solutions,” he said.
“I am looking forward to welcome my dear sisters, Her Excellencies, for the conference. Moreover, I am also very happy that during the conference will also mark an important occasion; the 4th Anniversary of Merck Foundation”, added Senator, Dr. Kelej.
The First Ladies attending the conference include H.E. Mrs. Esther Lungu of the Republic of Zambia who is also the co-chairperson of the 8th edition, H.E. Mrs. Ana Dias Lourenco of Angola, H.E. Mrs. Neo Jane Masisi of Botswana, H.E. Madam Sika Kabore of Burkina Faso, H.E. Madam Angeline Ndayishimiye of Burundi, H.E. Madam Brigitte Touadera of Central African Republic, H.E. Madam Denise Nyakeru Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, H.E. Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow of Gambia, H.E. Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and H.E. Madam Djene Conde of Guinea.
Others include H.E. Mrs. Clar Marie Weah of Liberia, H.E. Mrs. Monica Chakwera of Malawi, H.E. Mrs. Isaura Ferrao Nyusi of Mozambique, H.E. Mrs. Monica Geingos of Namibia, H.E. Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, H.E. Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, and H.E. Mrs. Auxillia Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.
Themes for the days
Kicking off on the 27th of April a distinguished panel meeting of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Committee, will be conducted together with 19 African First Ladies. The main task of the day is to discuss the healthcare system, and social issues that can be addressed to contribute to the Social and Economic Development in Africa; and advance healthcare, media and awareness capacities and capabilities in these countries.
On the 28th of April, MARS- Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit will be held where a High-Level Panel Discussion with Ministers of Health, Science and Technology, Education, Information and Gender and MARS Researchers will be held with the main objective of the day is to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and empower them in STEM.
On the final day 29th of April, Merck Foundation Health Media Training will be organized for the African and Latin American Media fraternity and the objective of the day is to reiterate the important role of the media in breaking the stigma stigma around infertility, in raising awareness about infertility prevention and empowering girls and women through education.
Countries that are up in participating in the 8th edition of Africa-Asia Luminary include: Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central Africa Republic, Cambodia, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea – Bissau, Guinea – Conakry, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Togo, Tunisia, U.A.E, UK, Uganda, US, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe among others.