Science and technology company, Merck, has announced the initiation of Merck More than a Patient, a new initiative of the Merck Cancer Access Programme in Africa.

Merck, in partnership with Women for Cancer, started the initiative in Kenya with the aim of empowering women cancer survivors by supporting them to establish their own small business so that they can lead an independent and productive life.

Through the new campaign, Merck will also help in raising awareness about cancer prevention and early detection and tackling the myths and stigma associated with the disease with special focus on women.

“Through our collaboration with cancer patients associations and cancer institutions across Africa, we aim to help uplift women cancer survivors to reclaim their lives and become active contributors to the economy – and by doing so, they can now give back to the society through their new businesses. They will become more than cancer patients,” said Chief Social Officer at Merck Healthcare, Rasha Kelej.

“We are grateful to Merck for the continued support towards Women 4 Cancer survivors and our recent collaboration through the Merck More than a Patient initiative,” said Co-Founder and Chairperson of Women for Cancer, Benda Kithaka.

“The cancer patients are also appreciative that Merck is assisting them to make strides in gaining financial independence beyond their cancer survivorship. Merck will also help raise awareness about Cancer and tackling myths and stigma associated with the disease, I am hoping we can together empower our communities to access accurate cancer information, which should result in behaviour change coupled with adoption of health seeking behaviour for quality cancer prevention and care,” concluded Kithaka.

There are plans to expand the Merck More than a Patient initiative to other African countries in 2017.

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