Merck Cancer Access Program

 
Merck Cancer Access Program is part of Merck Foundation’s commitment to improve patient’s access to quality and equitable cancer care in underserved communities.

The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa and developing countries, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer at all levels of the health care systems is even a bigger challenge.

Therefore, the program consists of three initiatives to enhance cancer care on all relevant levels: 


Merck Oncology Fellowship Program focuses on building professional cancer care capacity with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa. The Oncology Fellowship Program provides One-year, One and half-years and two years in India, Malaysia, Kenya and ip programs at University of Malaya - Malaysia, Master degree in Medical Oncology for three years at Cairo University - Egypt, in partnership with African Ministries of Health, Local Governments and Academia.

Impact

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Merck More Than a Patient empowers women cancer survivors to reclaim their lives by reintegration into society.

Merck Community Awareness shares accurate cancer information to help in tackling myths, misconception, and stigma through medical camps and social media.
 

Merck Foundation Alumni



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Dr. Nihad Salifu
Paediatric Medical Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni, 2017

Ghana
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“Ghana has a population of about 26 million with a cancer rate of 109 per 100,000 people, and yet there is no single trained medical oncologist in the whole country. The duty of medical oncologist is handled by other specialties such as radiation oncologist, general surgeons, genitourinary surgeons, and haematologists among others. This makes the care of patients very difficult because these doctors are not formally trained in medical oncology.” Says Nihad Salifu.

In addition, there are only three paediatric oncologists in the whole country, and our cancer cure rate is very low in children- it is about 20% when cure rates are approaching 80% in many developed parts of the world.” Added Salifu.
Salifu is one of the first candidates of the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program says,” This huge human resource deficit in childhood cancer care is the main motivating factor for me applying to be considered for this training. I will benefit from this great opportunity being given to our country by Merck Foundation. The Merck Fellowship Program will add to the few paediatric oncologists in Ghana, to ease the workload, improve quality of patient care, add to the number of voices advocating for these patients and to the number of trainers of health workers delivering services including awareness creation. It will also strengthen the team effort in the area of research and improve the paediatric cancer registry.”


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Dr. Christina V. Malichewe
Adult Medical Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni, 2017


Tanzania
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“Cancer is a growing concern in Tanzania, and limited facilities and few healthcare providers against the high rising number of patients diagnosed at advanced stages pose a great challenge to a developing country like Tanzania. Unfortunately, there are only two medical oncologists in a country of approximately 50 million people, one studied in Italy and another in China. We need more specialized oncologists in this field. Thank you, Merck Foundation for starting this program!! However, it is only through unique opportunities such as the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program we can make the needed change in our societies to improve patient access to cancer care.” Christina Malichewe said. 
 


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Dr. Abdulkadir M, Ethiopia
Paediatric Medical Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni, 2018


Ethiopia
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“I am a faculty member of Addis Ababa University working at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital department of paediatrics and child health hemato-oncology unit. I am general paediatrician serving kids suffering from cancer with no additional formal training in paediatric oncology. Merck Africa Fellowship Program will help me to update and upgrade my knowledge and skill in Paediatric Oncology; this helps me to give the appropriate and improved quality of care to cancer patients and helps us to expand the service.
 
Ethiopia is a country with approximately 100 million population. Currently, the country has three oncologists that serve the stated population. As I am faculty in the university, it will help the country to improve training program by strengthening and expanding Paediatric oncology fellowship program; this will increase the number of paediatric oncologists and improve access for kids with cancer to get timely improved and appropriate care.”

 

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Dr. Alemayehu Natnael
Adult Medical Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni, 2018


Ethiopia
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Dr. Natnael said “Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program is a Golden path to tackle the growing challenge posed by Cancer in Africa. I was delighted to know about and to be part of the fellowship program on oncology that Merck Foundation is planning to give. By completing this fellowship program, I feel that I will not only further my career, but I will also be a critical asset to my country.”
 
“My people are also in great need of Oncologists to address their sufferings. To your surprise, there is no oncologist, even a single one in southern part of Ethiopia with an estimated population of 18 million. For that matter, there are only three oncologists in Ethiopia for about 100 million population.” He added
 
Dr. Natnael explained “Cancer care is not only about the expensive resources, but it is also about trained healthcare personnel capable of addressing prevention, early diagnosis, & treatment and able to provide palliative care to cancer patients. So human resource capacity building is a core in tackling the burden posed by cancer. With this regard, Merck Foundation already took the lion share in my country and the rest of Africa in general. “

 


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Dr. Kabisa Mwala
Surgical Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni, 2018


Zambia
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Dr. Kabisa introduced himself,” I am a general surgeon deeply interested in Surgical Oncology because of my passion for helping patients ravaged by cancer especially, women with breast cancer. I have been participating in running a breast diagnostic clinic at our only Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) for the past three years now, with the last one year being run actively by myself. The offered surgical oncology fellowship position at Tata Memorial Hospital through the sponsorship of Merck Foundation will enhance my knowledge and skills in the field of surgical oncology to contribute better in managing patients seeking cancer care at our institution. Our Country has been training surgeons for some time now, but no specific surgical oncology training is available yet”.
 
“This opportunity of training will greatly help in improving the oncologic services currently being offered in Zambia, contribute to in-house training for other surgeons interested in the field of oncology and participate in local and collaborative research to improve quality of cancer care.  As such, Zambia will benefit from this much-needed skill and knowledge I will gain from this fellowship”.  He added. 


 

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Dr. Paul Kamfwa, Zambia
Gynaecologic Oncology Fellow
Merck Foundation Alumni, 2018

Zambia

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Dr. Paul Kamtwa told us” Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program is important for me because it will help me provide comprehensive and multidisciplinary care. The fellowship will help me to receive extensive surgical exposure to gynaecological procedures, chemotherapy and learn the new and advanced techniques of radiotherapy”.
 
“For the patients, normally those who have the first contact with a gynaecologic oncologist have the optimal care in staging, surgery, chemo-radiotherapy and follow up and as such better outcomes. Currently, this is not the case, and the fellowship will bridge that gap. Patients will have a continuity of care since surgery and administering of chemoradiotherapy can be facilitated by the same specialist.” he added.


 
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Latest Updates

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Merck Foundation marks World Cancer Day 2020 through its Merck Cancer Access Program

Merck Foundation partners with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health to build cancer care capacity in the continent.

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Merck Foundation partners with National Cancer Institute of Egypt to provide Master Degree in Medical Oncology for African Doctors

Merck Foundation supports Africa through the partnership with Egypt, to build the Cancer Care Capacity in the African Continent

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Merck Foundation marks World Cancer Day 2019 by increasing the limited number of oncologists in Africa

Merck Foundation provides one- and two-year Oncology Fellowship Program to African doctors to be the future oncologists in their country

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Media

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Merck Foundation Marks World Cancer Day by Increasing the Limited Number of Oncologists in Africa

Merck Foundation provides one and two year Oncology Fellowship Program to African doctors to be the future oncologists in their countries.

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Merck Foundation partners with National Cancer Institute and Ministry of Higher Education of Egypt to train African Oncologists

Launched in 2016, over 69 candidates from more than 21 African countries has rolled in the Merck Oncology Fellowship Program.

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Merck Foundation marks 'World Cancer Day 2018'

Merck Foundation commits to build cancer care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

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