Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany, has partnered with Egypt’s National Cancer Institute to provide a Master Degree in Medical Oncology for African doctors.

This initiative forms part of Merck Foundation’s ‘Merck Cancer Access Programme’ that has been initiated by Merck Foundation to increase the limited number of oncologists across Africa.

​“We are pleased to announce our partnership with the National Cancer Institute, Egypt, which is considered as the benchmark of Cancer Care in Northern Africa and the Middle East,” said CEO of Merck Foundation, Dr Rasha Kelej. 

There are currently five students from Ghana, Namibia, Liberia and Rwanda registered with the Master Degree programme in Medical Oncology under the Merck Cancer Access Programme. According to Dr Kelej, they plan to expand this programme to more African countries like Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Uganda and Kenya.

“We believe that our partnership in Egypt will go a long way and together we can play a vital role in Africa. Building capacity by having trained Oncologists in each African country is pivotal, since lack of professional skills is the key challenge in Africa and developing countries,” said Dr Kelej.

“We are pleased to announce our partnership with Merck Foundation to support in building cancer care capacity in African countries. The collaboration in the field of academics will effectively enhance the capabilities to prevent, detect and treat the rising cases of cancer in these countries,” said Vice Dean of the National Cancer Institute, Prof Abdel-Rahman Zekri.

“The scarcity of trained healthcare personnel capable of tackling prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer is a big challenge. Therefore this partnership will prove to be very beneficial for many African countries,” said Dean of National Cancer Institute, Prof Hatem Ahmed Abou AlKasem.

To date, through the Merck Cancer Access Programme, over 43 African physicians have received Oncology Fellowship programmes spanning one to two years, in a bid to help increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.

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