Merck gives back to African society through building research and cancer care capacity focused on empowering African women in the research and oncology field dedicated to women health.
Following the success of Merck Cancer Access Program to empower women in oncology field where they are underrepresented, comes another successful initiative for MERCK to empower African women in research to offer better health care to women.
After receiving his ‘African Alliances HE for SHE’ award for women empowerment, Prof Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp has successfully achieved another commitment to empower women in research in an effort to bridging the gap in gender inequality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Africa.
UNESCO and Merck celebrate outstanding African Women Researchers as a historical first. Kenya, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Uganda, Ethiopia ranked in the top five places at the ‘Merck Africa Women Research Award on women health in Africa’.
Merck announced five winners from Kenya, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Uganda and Ethiopia under the category of ‘Best African Women Researchers Award’ and four winners from Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia and Zimbabwe for ‘Best Young African Researchers Award’ during the recently held 2nd UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the first ‘Best African Women Researchers Award’ was being launched.
Prof. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board and Family Board of E. Merck KG while congratulating the winners said;
“I am very pleased to offer my support to motivate female researchers & healthcare providers and recognize their excellent contribution to fields where they are underrepresented”.
Merck will provide the winners with training and mentor-ship opportunity to advance their capacity and helps bring them to the international standard. The winner of MARS Research awards will be appointed as Merck Ambassadors of Empowering Women and Girls in STEM in their own countries through several future initiatives will be announced in 2017.
The recipients of the awards who are not only PhD students and young investigators based at African research institutes and universities were selected based on the abstracts they submitted. These impressive abstracts were related to Infectious Diseases with the aim to improve Women Health, the focus of UNESCO-MARS 2016.
Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare highlighted: “Merck is committed to empowering women in STEM which will consequently contribute to improving the quality of research and science in Africa.”
“Merck’s support for research and healthcare especially in the field of oncology where women are currently under-represented will help bridge the gender gap in STEM in Africa. Merck have provided earlier this year Oncology fellowship program to African women doctors from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania. Not only that we have also supported women cancer survivors through access to information, awareness about prevention and early detection, health and economic empowerment through Merck more than a a patient initiative which focuses mainly on Cancer in women and its social misperception and stigma” Rasha Kelej added.
Best African Women Researchers Award
The ‘Best African Women Researchers Awards’ with the aim of promoting women in STEM went to five women researchers from across Africa, who were recognized for the outstanding quality of their research.
1st winner: Kenya
Beatrice Nyagol, Kenya Medical Research Institute for her study on:“Clinicians’ experiences and insights in conducting an intra-vaginal ring study among young women in Kisumu, Kenya, 2015 -Lessons learned”.
2nd winner: Burkina Faso
Rogomenoma Ouedraogo, Laboratory of Biology and Molecular Genetics University of Ouagadougou for her study on: “Molecular diagnosis of cytomegalovirus (CMV), the human herpes virus type 6 (HHV6) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) by real-time PCR in pregnant women infected or not infected by HIV at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso”.
3rd winner: Gabon
Sandrine Liabagui ep Assangaboua Ecole Doctorale Regionale d’Afrique Centrale, Franceville for her study on: “Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in children with malaria in Franceville, Gabon”
4th winner: Uganda
Maria Nabaggala, from the Infectious Diseases Institute for her study on: “Understanding outcomes of HIV positive patient tracking following a missed appointment in rural Uganda”.
5th winner: Ethiopia
Martha Zewdie, Armauer Hansen Research Institute for her study on: “Ex-vivo characterization of regulatory T-cells in pulmonary tuberculosis patients, latently infected persons, and healthy endemic controls”.
Best Young African Researchers Award
The three categories of the ‘Best Young Researchers Award’ were given to two female and two male researchers Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia and Zimbabwe.
1st winner: Botswana
Patricia Rantshabeng, University of Botswana, Botswana for her study on: “Prevalence of oncogenic Human Papillomavirus genotypes in women with vulvar and cervical squamous cell carcinoma in Botswana.
2nd winner: Cameroon
Constantine Asahngwa, Cameroon Centre for Evidence Based Health Care for his study on: “The experiences of women living with trachoma in Africa: A qualitative systematic review”.
3rd winner: Zimbabwe
Tinashe Nyazika, University of Zimbabwe for his study on: “Cryptococcus neoformans population diversity is not associated with clinical outcomes of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis patients in Zimbabwe”.
3rd winner: Gambia
Lamin Cham, from National Aids Control Program for his study on: “Qualitative detection of proviral-DNA of HIV-1 in neonates to determine the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy in the prevention of vertical transmission of HIV-1 in the Gambia”.
Videos for all winners are available at the APO.