HEALTHDAILY, HARARE—MERCK Foundation has opened a second round of its cancer treatment fellowship and masters degree studies to Zimbabweans.
This is being coordinated in partnership with Africaan First Ladies is meant to improve cancer care through training for a Masters Degree alongaide a one, two and three year oncology fellowship.
Zimbabwe is among the 26 African countries to be given this opportunity which will see 80 doctors from these nations getting trained.
The philanthropic organisation said in a statement they continue to provide one, two- and three-year Oncology Fellowship and Master degree for African doctors through their Cancer Access Program with the aim to increase the limited number of Oncologists across the continent.
“Our strategy is to develop a Multidisciplinary Oncology Care team in each country such as; Medical, Surgery, Pediatric, Gynecology, Radiation Oncologists, Nursing, Pathologist and Radiology Technician. As an African woman, I am proud that we are making history in Africa through training the first oncologists and first cancer care teams in many countries such as; The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Central African Republic, Chad and Niger.
Our main objective is to provide quality and affordable care to patients who never had anyone to care of them before,” said Merck Chief executive officer and Founder Dr Rasha Kelej.
Data available shows the burden of cancer in Africa is growing with recent estimates reporting 1.06 million new diagnosed cancer cases per year. This figure is expected to increase by 102% to 2.12 million by 2040. While the burden of cancer in Africa is rapidly rising, there is a very limited number of oncologists and there is also a lack of investment in building professional cancer care capacity across the continent.
“Therefore, we strongly believe that building professional healthcare capacity is the right strategy to address this pressing challenge. It is an on-going initiative as the aim is to build cancer care capacity and we plan to scale it up to train more doctors in more African countries” added Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Launched in 2016, the Merck Cancer Access Program provides One-, two- and three-years fellowship and master degree programs for African doctors in India, Egypt, Kenya and Malaysia.
Merck Foundation through its Merck Cancer Access Program has till date trained more than 80 Oncology Care Specialists from 26 countries which are: Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinee, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.