Two Plus Two Equals Four!!!

My water broke around 3:30 that Sunday afternoon. Since I’d been in ‘barely there’ labor since 9 in the morning, everything was ready and already by the door. I quickly put on the blue dress that boyfriend was ironing at the time and we rushed out...

Modern Mom Can't Cook

The food had just started boiling when I heard a knock on the door. My pocket was hurting that day; I only had 4 shillings to my name. Not one to despair, I was contented working with what I had – rice, potatoes and an onion. Without the tomatoes to at least add some color, I was prepared to have some very bland lunch. But it was ok, ...

Biggest Baby Expenses and How to Save on Them

Though the spending on the new baby is inevitable, there are steps you can take to ensure that you keep the costs at a minimum. In this post, we look at the biggest baby expenses and how to save on them ...

I am Selfish

There’s a long hoot and I’m screaming his name at the top of my lungs. In that split second, I see my life come to an end. I see myself losing my best friend barely two days after his coming home. I see him robbed of life right before my very eyes...

Are you Making these six Parenting Mistakes?

Parenting would be easier if it came with a manual. We all have different parenting styles and none can be said to be better than the other. There are however mistakes we all make as parents, sometimes coming from a very good place.In this post we discuss six major parenting mistakes.

Dealing with Unwarranted Parenting Advice

Being different is ok. We are all special in one way or another. This memo, however, did not get to the perfection bullies. When your child is a little different, they’ll make it their business to tell you what you probably did wrong to end up where you are, and come up with so many solutions to your problem your head will spin.

Melina's Messy Updo

A messy updo comes in handy when I need to do a simple hairstyle in little to no time. I have found that it works best on freshly washed hair as the curls are more defined then. You do not even have to comb it. Just shampoo, condition, moisturize, oil and style :-)

Of Housegirls and Parenting

She called early Sunday morning telling me that she was in town but when I went to get her, my calls went unanswered. Thirty missed calls later, I could not reach her. Thinking that her phone must have run out of charge, I now had the hectic task of looking for her in a crowded town via footsteps the way it used to be done like 3 presidents ago ...

Goodbye Ceskycess. Hello, Modern Mom.

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I wanted to say. I therefore wrote some really pathetic posts and prayed that no one would ever read them. A few months later, a love interest did some stalking, found my blog and read the half-baked posts. To please me (I think), he praised and gushed my writing.

Hey Diddle Diddle

It's always nice to stumble upon an old photo or image. I feel so happy to have come across this video we recorded with my daughter 2 years ago when she could barely talk.



I can't wait to play it to her when she comes home from school. :-) :-)

 
   


For such videos, don't forget to subscribe to my you-tube channel. I started it the other day and it still needs a lot of work but I promise you'll enjoy the ride. See you soon.



Some call it crazy, I call it passion
Until we see each other again, 




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Merck KGaA gives back to society through Merck Foundation’s program to improve access to Cancer Care

  • A bright future through Merck Foundation explained by the candidates we interviewed from Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Ethiopia.

Many efforts lately have started to address the emerging cancer crisis in Africa and developing countries. One of the strong players in these efforts is Merck Foundation, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. They have started a very important Cancer Access program since 2016 to provide Africa with New Oncologists through a one, two and three-year Oncology Fellowship Program established in India, Kenya and Egypt.

We heard from the candidates who have been enrolled into this unique program - what they think about it and what it means for them, their patients, countries and their patients.

From Ghana: “A Bright Future through Merck Foundation “Dr. Kokou Hefoume Amegan-Aho, Paediatric Medical Oncology started his emotional story explaining, “This is a very special opportunity offered by Merck Foundation to help in addressing the numerous challenges in managing childhood cancers in Ghana and the rest of Africa, especially the inadequate number of trained specialists in paediatric oncology as well as improving diagnosis and care. I am more excited about the future as this training will help unearth undiagnosed cases, while increasing awareness; increase survival through early diagnosis and multidisciplinary management. I will be very active in research activities in the area to fill the knowledge gaps.” He added.

Dr. Kokou Hefoume Amegan-Aho, Ghana
Paediatric Medical Oncology

He further explained what he meant by the missing opportunities in Arica, “Children affected by cancer have a lot of potential, we are missing as a nation by not keeping most, if not all, of them alive.  During my rotation on the paediatric oncology ward of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, I had the privilege to “befriend” many children, gifted with special skills, and full of big dreams for their future. Unfortunately, many are not alive today. I still keep the drawings and the stories of most of them in my house and in my heart, wishing my friends were still alive!”

“Currently, the survival rate from childhood cancer in Ghana, like other lower and middle-income countries is even lower than that in the USA in the 1960s. In Ghana, children with cancer die undiagnosed or present very late, due to the low awareness and inadequate diagnostic services in our country. Children with cancer are likely to be managed for other common illness in health facilities or parents seeking help from herbalists and spiritualists for many weeks or months.” He emphasized.
Dr. Kokou added, “It is therefore clear that increasing awareness, training more health workers in childhood cancer management; mobilizing funds for early diagnosis and treatment are key to improving childhood cancer outcomes in Ghana.”

This was not the only testimony we heard about Merck Foundation efforts to support those young doctors to be oncologists and help the patients in their countries.

We met with Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation in Uganda lately at the launch of this program in East Africa, she explained to us the vision and call of action of Merck Foundation, “One of the main objectives of Merck foundation is to build a strong platform of qualified medical, pediatric and surgical oncologists across the continent through the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program”.

“More than twenty candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania and Kenya have enrolled in the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program in partnership with African ministries of health, the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Tata Memorial Centre, India and Alexandria University, Egypt. We are very proud of our contribution to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of Cancer care in the continent.” Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg- Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board and Chairman of Board of Trustees of Merck Foundation explained during his meeting with H.E. Prime minister of Uganda “Improving cancer care needs a substantial improvement in infrastructure and increase in the number of specialized workforce, which does not exist in many, if not most, Sub-Saharan African countries. Enrolling more candidates from more African countries into our Fellowship Program, is an important step forward towards improving access to cancer care across the continent.”

In June 2017, BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), and the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), released a white paper on the African continent’s emerging cancer crisis.

Over 20% of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and sporadic in other countries. Later-stage diagnosis in African patients contributes to poorer outcomes. For example, 5-year female breast cancer relative survival rates are 46% in Uganda and 12% in The Gambia, compared with around 90% in developed countries, the report cited.

More African young doctors and researchers are grateful every day for this program from Merck Foundation; we have watched on social media this video tells us the experience of both Dr Nihad Saifu from Ghana and Dr. Christine from Tanzania:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW3FFyE52JY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY3-2AP8x_Y
Another video sharing the testimonies of candidates the oncology fellowship of university of Nairobi from South Africa and Kenya.

Dr. Alemayehu Natnael, Ethiopia
Adult Medical Oncology

We have also interviewed Dr Alemayehu from Ethiopia who has shared his thoughts with us saying “Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program is a Golden path to tackle the growing challenge posed by Cancer in Africa. My people are also in great need of specialists like this to address their sufferings. For 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 3 oncologists in Ethiopia for about 100 million population.” He added.

Dr. Natnael explained “Cancer care is not only about the expensive resources; it is also about a trained healthcare personnel capable of addressing prevention, early diagnosis, and 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. On this regard Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship program already took the lion share in my country and the rest of Africa in general.”

Dr Kabisa Mwala, Zambia
Surgical Oncology

From Zambia: Dr Kabisa Mwala introduced himself “I am a general surgeon deeply interested in Surgical Oncology because of my passion to help patents 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 3 (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.’

Dr. Magdalene Kuria, Kenya
Paediatric Medical Oncology

Dr. Magdalene Kuria, a paediatrician from Kenya emphasized “As a paediatrician working in a rural hospital I encounter many oncology patients who are too poor to get treatment in the cancer centers in big towns like Nairobi.  Merck Africa Oncology fellowship will build my capacity to manage them at the nearest facility with no need for referral”.

Dr. Iddrisu A. Rashid Timtoni, Ghana
Master Degree, Medical Oncology

Coming all the way from Ghana to Alexandria where he will start his three years journey with the master of Clinical Oncology: Dr. Iddrisu Rashid “It is estimated that there will be 15 million cases of cancer annually by the year2020, 70% of which will occur in developing countries. Ghana as a developing country with a population of about 26 million has only two national cancer centers in the country that offer comprehensive cancer services including radiotherapy. These centers are located in two tertiary hospitals both in the southern part of the country making it difficult for patients with cancer in the northern part of the country to access these centers due to the distance they have to travel leading to frequent default rates or even complete abandonment of treatment resulting very poor outcomes. Unfortunately, medical oncologists who play a central role and coordinating patient care are rare to find in Ghana with none in the northern part of the country, and therefore an urgent need to train doctors to fill this gap.”

“When given the chance to pursue this course and upon my successful competition it will not only empower me with knowledge and skills to effectively manage patients with cancer but also contribute my expertise in tackling the serious challenges hindering cancer care in Ghana especially in the areas completely deprived of that specialist care in country. I will play an advocacy role on prevention and early detection of cases as well as partnering with colleagues and other health agencies to set up comprehensive cancer treatment centers in the northern part of the country to improve accessibility to caner care hence better outcomes. Also, by contributing to the area of research in oncology, which is in an infantile stage in Ghana, the country will benefit greatly as findings will be utilize to adapt cancer care protocols to our local needs hence bridging the gaps in cancer care in Ghana.

He said THANK YOU MERCK FOUNDATION. Thank you Merck Foundation from every African, A Job well done.
 

Some call it crazy, I call it passion
Until we see each other again, 



Read More »

Merck gives back to society through Merck Foundation’s programs to build cancer care capacity in Africa

  •  Merck Foundation provides Africa with Twenty New Oncologists through Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program established in India, Kenya and Egypt.
  •  SDG 3 calls us to sustainably invest on building healthcare capacity to improve access to equitable healthcare solutions.
https://youtu.be/AugD3g1A9kQ

https://youtu.be/5ty1CJdeTo4

Merck Foundation started their second stage of their Africa Oncology Fellowship Program that started in 2016 with the aim to increase the limited number of oncologists in Africa.

In June 2017, BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), and the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), released a white paper on the African continent’s emerging cancer crisis.

Over 20% of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and sporadic in other countries. Later-stage diagnosis in African patients contributes to poorer outcomes. For example, 5-year female breast cancer relative survival rates are 46% in Uganda and 12% in The Gambia, compared with around 90% in developed countries, the report cited.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized “One of the main objectives of Merck Foundation is to build a strong platform of qualified medical, pediatric and surgical oncologists across the continent through the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program”.

“Twenty candidates from Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Namibia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania and Kenya have enrolled in the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program in partnership with African ministries of health, the University of Nairobi, Kenya, Tata Memorial Centre, India and Alexandria University, Egypt. We are very proud of our contribution to lead Africa to a better future through changing the landscape of Cancer care in the continent.” Rasha Kelej added.

Prof. Frank Stangenberg- Haverkamp, Chairman of Executive Board and chairman of Board of Trustees of Merck Foundation explained “improving cancer care needs a substantial improvement in infrastructure and increase in the number of specialized workforce, which does not exist in many, if not most, Sub-Saharan African countries. Enrolling more candidates from more African countries into our Fellowship Program, is an important step forward towards improving access to cancer care across the continent.”

In partnership with Ministries of Health across Africa, the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program provides one-year and two-year oncology fellowship programs and a three year master degree in medical oncology at Tata Memorial Centre, India, University of Nairobi, Kenya and Alexandria University, Egypt, respectively.

Launched in 2016, with the aim to increase the limited number of qualified oncologists in the continent, 3 medical doctors from Sub-Saharan African countries Kenya, and South Africa were granted a two-year Africa medical oncology fellowship training at the University of Nairobi. In addition, Merck Foundation supported another two African doctors from Ghana and Tanzania for the Paediatric and Adult Medical Fellowship program that is conducted annually at Tata Memorial Centre, India.

“We will continue to enroll more candidates and engage other countries on this program as we firmly believe this is a vital component of improving the quality and accessibility of cancer care in Africa,” added Rasha Kelej.

Merck Africa Asia Luminary and Solutions for Cancer Access:

The inaugural Merck Africa Asia Luminary, holding 24 – 25 October 2017 in Cairo, Egypt, will feature a workshop dedicated exclusively to improve access to cancer care through Capacity building through Merck Foundation, www.merck-foundation.com. It will convene key players from the global, regional and local cancer network, health ministers, First ladies, with the goal of encouraging dialogue among stakeholders, raise awareness of the issues, explore partnership opportunities to generate ideas for potential solutions to existing challenges.

Merck Foundation Vision and Call for Action:

“A world where everyone should lead a healthy and fulfilling life, this is Merck Foundation‘s vision. We are working together to achieve the Sustainable Development goals- SDGs. The SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages , calls us to sustainably invest on building healthcare capacity to improve access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable healthcare solutions for all by 2030.” Dr. Kelej emphasized.


Background:

The African Union has targeted by 2063, every citizen will have full access to affordable and quality health care services, and integrated and comprehensive health services and infrastructure will be in place, where services are available, accessible, affordable, acceptable and of quality.


Meet the Future African Oncologists who enrolled into Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program:


Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program, Tata Memorial Center, India:

Dr. Abdulkadir M, Ethiopia
Paediatric Medical Oncology


Dr. Abdulkadir explained “I am a faculty member of Addis Ababa University working at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital department of pediatrics and child health hemato-oncology unit. I am general pediatrician serving kids suffering with cancer with no additional formal training in pediatric oncology. Merck Africa Fellowship Program will help me to update and upgrade my knowledge and skill in Paediatric oncology. This helps me to give appropriate and improved quality of care to cancer patients and helps me to expand the service.”

This training helps children with cancer to get quality and timely care. It helps to upgrade the current level of care that they currently getting and improve the outcome with improved survival.

“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 in by strengthening and expanding Paediatric oncology fellowship program. This will increase the number of pediatric oncologists and improve access for kids with cancer to get timely improved and appropriate care” he added.

Dr Alemayehu Natnael, Ethiopia
Adult Medical Oncology


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 an asset for the future expansion of Hawassa Oncology Center”.

“My people are also in great need of specialists like this to address their sufferings. For 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 3 oncologists in Ethiopia for about 100 million population.” He added

Dr. Natnael explained “Cancer care is not only about the expensive resources it is also about a 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. On this regard Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship program already took the lion share in my country and the rest of Africa in general. “

Dr. Kabisa Mwala, Zambia
Surgical Oncology

Dr. Kabisa introduced himself” I am a general surgeon deeply interested in Surgical Oncology because of my passion to help patents 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 3 (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 oncological services currently being offered at CDH, contribute to in-house training for other surgeons interested in the field of oncology and participate in local and collaborative research in order to improve service delivery to cancer patients.  As such, the country as a whole will benefit from this much-needed skill and knowledge I will gain from this training to be undertaken soon”.  He added.

Dr. Magdalene Kuria, Kenya
Paediatric Medical Oncology


Dr. Magdalene Kuria emphasized “As a paediatrician working in a rural hospital I encounter many oncology patients who are too poor to get treatment in the cancer centers in big towns like Nairobi.  Merck Africa Oncology fellowship will build my capacity to manage them at the nearest facility with no need for referral”.


Dr. Paul Kamfwa, Zambia
Gynaecological Oncology

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 gynaecology oncologist have 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 chemo radiotherapy can be facilitated by same person.” he added

Dr. Michael Odwory, Kenya
Gynaecological Oncology

Dr. Michael Odwory emphasized “The Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program will help me advance my understanding of various gynaecological cancers and surgical skills. And therefore, my poor patients will get help at the point of diagnosis and save them (the few who can afford) the trouble of having to travel many kilometers to the capital city, Nairobi for assistance.  This will go a long way in improving access to oncology care in our country.”

Dr. Justin Mulindwa, Zambia
Paediatric Medical Oncology


Dr. Justin Mulindwa explained “The Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program is important to me and my Hospital because it affords me a training opportunity that will enhance paediatric oncology patient care, paediatric oncology research and teaching in my country. Currently, I am based at the Cancer Diseases Hospital which is the only center providing paediatric oncology care for patients across a country of an estimated 15 million people with an estimated 45% being in the paediatric age group of up to 15 years old.”

Dr. Kokou Hefoume Amegan-Aho, Ghana
Paediatric Medical Oncology


Dr. Kokou explained the Missed Opportunities in Arica “Children affected by cancer have a lot of potentials we are missing as a nation by not keeping most, if not all, of them alive.  During my rotation on the paediatric oncology ward of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, I had the privilege to “befriend” many children, gifted with special skills, and full of big dreams for their future. Unfortunately, many are not alive today. I still keep the drawings and the stories of most of them in my house and in my heart, wishing my friends were still alive! “.


“Currently, the survival rate from childhood cancer in Ghana, like other lower and middle-income countries is even lower than that in the USA in the 1960s. In Ghana, children with cancer die undiagnosed or present very late, due to the low awareness and inadequate diagnostic services in our country. Children with cancer are likely to be managed for other common illness in health facilities or parents seeking help from herbalists and spiritualists for many weeks or months. “He emphasized.
Dr. Kokou added ” It is therefore clear that increasing awareness, training more health workers in childhood cancer management; mobilizing funds for early diagnosis and treatment are key to improving childhood cancer outcomes in Ghana.”

“A brighter future through Merck Foundation.” D.r Kokou from Ghana said
“This is a very special opportunity offered by Merck Foundation to help addressing the numerous challenges in managing childhood cancers in Ghana, especially the inadequate number of trained specialists in paediatric oncology as well as improving diagnosis and care. I am more excited about the future as this training will help unearth undiagnosed cases, while increasing awareness; increase survival through early diagnosis and multidisciplinary management. I will be very active in research activities in the area to fill the knowledge gaps.” He added.

Dr. Solomon Teshome N, Ethiopia
Radiation Oncology
Dr Solomon explained “The fellowship is very important for me, to update myself to practice on 3d treatment planning, CT Simulator, IMRT, IGRT and so on. The knowledge I get from this fellowship will help me to give an excellent service to my patients. Since we don’t have RTT training school in my country the fellowship will help me to train other Radiotherapy Technologists.”

Dr. Kennedy Lishimpi, Zambia
Radiation Oncology

Dr. Kennedy emphasized “Providing this fellowship opportunities to my country Zambia is a dream comes true. Merck Foundation will be an important factor to improve cancer care in Zambia and the rest of Africa.”



Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship Program, Alexandria University, Egypt:
Three-year Master degree of Clinical Oncology

Dr. Iddrisu A. Rashid Timtoni, Ghana
Master Degree, Medical Oncology


Dr. Rashid “It is estimated that there will be 15 million cases of cancer annually by the year2020, 70% of which will occur in developing countries. Ghana as a developing country with a population of about 26 million has only two national cancer centers in the country that offer comprehensive cancer services including radiotherapy. These centers are located in two tertiary hospitals both in the southern part of the country making it difficult for patients with cancer in the northern part of the country to access these centers due to the distance they have to travel leading to frequent default rates or even complete abandonment of treatment resulting very poor outcomes. Unfortunately, medical oncologists who play a central role and coordinating patient care are rare to find in Ghana with none in the northern part of the country, and therefore an urgent need to train doctors to fill this gap.”

“ When given the chance to pursue this course and upon my successful competition it will not only empower me with knowledge and skills to effectively manage patients with cancer but also contribute my expertise in tackling the serious challenges hindering cancer care in Ghana especially in the areas completely deprived of that specialist care in country. I will play an advocacy role on prevention and early detection of cases as well as partnering with colleagues and other health agencies to set up comprehensive cancer treatment centers in the northern part of the country to improve accessibility to caner care hence better outcomes. Also, by contributing to the area of research in oncology, which is in an infantile stage in Ghana, the country will benefit greatly as findings will be utilize to adapt cancer care protocols to our local needs hence bridging the gaps in cancer care in Ghana.THANK YOU MERCK FOUNDATION.” He added!

Dr. Petrus Ashipala Shedeli Nekomb, Namibia
Master Degree, Medical Oncology

Merck Cancer Control Program

 Merck Cancer Control Program

 Merck_MCCP

 Merck Cancer Control Program

To read more about Merck Foundation programs  www.merck-foundation.com
 post goes here  

Some call it crazy, I call it passion
Until we see each other again, 



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