Merck Foundation supports livelihood of women and casual workers

Merck Foundation supports livelihood of women and casual workers

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA, Germany, a leading science and technology company, has partnered 18 African First Ladies to support livelihood of about thousands of women and families of casual and daily workers who are most affected by the COVID -19 lockdown.

The First Ladies include that of Liberia, Ghana, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Niger, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Burkina Faso.

The relief contribution, according to the organisation, was also undertaken in Egypt with the aim of supporting 500 families.

Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explained that the lockdown imposed on most countries had hit daily workers and women the most, hence the decision to support them.

The support, she noted, formed part of the Foundation’s “Separated but Connected” initiative.

According to her, the pandemic had led to a “horrifying increase in violence against women,” due to their “confinement at home with an abusive partner which has resulted in not only physical violence but also emotional violence against women.”

That, she said, could have “disastrous consequences” on the health and well-being of women.

“We decided to focus on supporting women in our coronavirus community intervention and strongly continue empowering infertile and childless women as part of our signature campaign ‘Merck More than a Mother’. We know they now need our support more than ever.

“We strongly believe that building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare especially during this vicious pandemic,” Dr Kelej said.

Merck Foundation said it would continue their current capacity advancement programmes and focus on building coronavirus healthcare capacity by providing one year online postgraduate degrees in Respiratory and Acute Medicines at one of the UK Universities.

This programme is in partnership with African First Ladies, Ministers of Health and Academia across Africa and Asia continents.

Merck Foundation has also launched ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards in partnership with the African First Ladies.

The theme of the awards, according to the organisation, is to raise awareness on how to “Stay Safe and Keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during the coronavirus Lockdown with the aim to separate facts from myths and misconceptions.”

 “We strongly believe that media plays a critical role in raising awareness about sensitive and pressing issues such as coronavirus. I am looking forward to receive the creative and informative work of our winners so that they become Merck Foundation health champions in their countries,” Dr Rasha Kelej emphasised.

The Foundation has launched an inspiring storybook titled ‘Making the Right Choice’ to raise awareness about coronavirus prevention amongst children and youth.

It provides facts about the pandemic and how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak, and seek to promote honesty, hard-work and the ability to make the right choices even during the most challenging times.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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