Merck Foundation in partnership with Africa’s First Ladies and Ministries of Health provided more than 750 scholarships of one-year Post-Graduate Diploma and two-year Master Degree in Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology and Obesity and Weight Management to doctors from 43 countries in Africa, Asia and beyond.

Merck Foundation has released The First Animation films “Sugar-Free Jude”, “Mark’s Pressure”, which are adapted from their Children’s storybooks with the aim to raise awareness about the early detection and prevention of Diabetes and Hypertension (which are correlated) and to Promote Healthy Lifestyle, amongst children and youth in Africa and beyond.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks ‘World Diabetes Day 2023’ together with Africa’s First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Medical Societies and Academia, through their “Nationwide Diabetes Blue Points Program” by providing scholarships for young doctors to transform the patient care landscape in the fields of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Hypertension, and by raising awareness in communities in Africa and beyond.

Senator, Dr Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “At Merck Foundation, we mark ‘World Diabetes Day’ every day. Till today out of 1700 scholarships, we provided more than 750 scholarships for one-year diplomas and two-year master’s degrees in Diabetes, Endocrinology, Cardiovascular, and Obesity and weight Management speciality training, as well as a Diabetes Master Course in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish language, to doctors from 43 countries in Africa, Asia and beyond, in partnership with Africa’s First Ladies and Ministries of Health, and Medical Societies. This is significantly contributing to improving access to quality and equitable diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular care, which as we know are correlated conditions.”

“We are establishing a robust network of experts nationwide, by providing these scholarships to doctors from different provinces, counties or districts in each country we partner with. After graduation, these doctors can establish diabetes clinics in their Health Centers or Hospitals with the aim of preventing and managing the condition in their respective communities, many diabetes clinics have been established since the start of this program. I am proud of this outstanding milestone, this is how we mark Diabetes Day”, emphasized Dr. Kelej.

Merck Foundation released the first animation movies to raise awareness about Diabetes and hypertension, during their recently concluded annual conference, the 10th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary, in the presence of First Ladies of 11 African countries.

“I am very happy to bring to you ‘Sugar-Free Jude’ and ‘Mark’s Pressure’ the first Animation Films to raise awareness about Diabetes & hypertension and to Promote Healthy Lifestyles, amongst children and youth in Africa and beyond. These animated films are adaptations of our children’s storybooks. Through our new animation films, we want to encourage our communities to stop sugar, exercise regularly, eat healthy and never smoke, this is the only way to eradicate diabetes and hypertension and reduce its complications. These animation films are dedicated by Merck Foundation to our communities and partners to mark “World Diabetes Day” and also to use every day. I want to remind everyone that good health is our greatest treasure!” added Dr. Kelej.

Medical graduates from the following 43 countries have benefitted from the 750 scholarships provided by Merck Foundation: Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, UAE, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Senator, Dr. Kelej further announced, “I am happy to launch new Fellowship Programs of One-year Clinical Diabetes and One-year Clinical Cardiovascular Care, onsite training programs in India for African doctors with the aim to improve diabetes, cardiovascular and hypertension care in the continent.”

Dr. Avinash Beezadhur, a Merck Foundation Alumni from Mauritius who completed a PG Diploma in Diabetes says, “I thank Merck Foundation for giving me this opportunity to explore and learn new concepts, materials, and guidelines and acquire new evidence-based knowledge about diabetes and the management of my patients. This has helped me in my career and helped me to change my practice into a better one, for the betterment of my country’s people.”

Merck Foundation in total provided more than 1700 scholarships to doctors from over 50 countries in 42 critical and underserved medical specialties.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), around 45 million adults (20-79) in the African Region have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These figures are estimated to reach 110 million by 2045. Moreover, Africa has the highest percentage of undiagnosed people – 70% of adults living with diabetes do not know they have it.

Therefore, Merck Foundation has also been raising awareness in communities in Africa and beyond about Diabetes and hypertension and the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle.

As part of their Community Awareness Program, Merck Foundation has also released three Songs in three languages named ‘NO More Diabetes, Sugar-Free’ in English, ‘Dites non au Diabète’ in French and ‘Chega de Diabetes’ in Portuguese. And has also released the remix version, of the three languages.

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