Merck Foundation CEO, others in Top 100 Influential People in Africa


Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, has been featured in the list of 100 Most Influential Africans 2019, according to a release by New African Magazine.

Merck has been at the forefront in empowering childless women across Africa and Asia to give them hope and strength to overcome the numerous challenges they face in their communities.

In a press release copied to DailyMailGh, Kelej has been recognized for her efforts to empower women in general and infertile women in particular through the “Merck More Than a Mother” campaign, which is a historic movement that aims to empower childless and infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets.

Kelej, who hails from Egypt, commenting on her inclusion, emphasized, “I am thrilled and honoured to receive this recognition and to be included in this prestigious list among such an eminent group of people”.

She continued “As an African and an Egyptian woman, I strongly feel the need to empower girls and women, to be able to help them reach their true potential”.

She added that “Through our Merck Mother Than a Mother Campaign, the foundation has strived to bring a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility on all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses, in addition to empowering girls in Education and women in STEM fields.”

It is about time to stigmatization of childless women ends, and rather, give them the respect and the help they deserve to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child, the release said.

She pledged not to relent on her efforts to help those who are marginalized “this recognition will motivate me to do more. It is my turn now to empower other women in my beautiful continent, I promise to use my influence and experience to support women and girls as much as I can.”

H.E. Prof. Gertrude Mutharika, the First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother who congratulated her, also pledged to support the campaign. “Congratulations to Dr Rasha for this recognition, she deserves it. We will continue to support our people. Africa needs women like her who are able to mentor others”.  

Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health of Uganda and other Ambassadors also promised to make the campaign a success.

The list includes 100 personalities from various African countries, and from various fields like political, economic, social and sports. It includes many other prominent personalities of Africa like, H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, The President of Ghana was re-appointed as the Co-Chair of Sustainable Development Goals Advocate Group by UN Secretary General; H.E. Paul Kagame, The President of Rwanda for his sheer dynamism and the impact his decisions have on other countries; Mohamed ‘Mo’ Salah, Football Player from Egypt, for showcasing extra ordinary talent in the game.

About ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign;

“Merck More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe and effective fertility care. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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