Merck Foundation, UM sign pact for post-grad trainees

(From left) Ee, Dr Rasha, Prof Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Dr Yap, Abdul Rahim, Dr Tunku Kamarul Zaman and Prof Adeeba exchange documents at the signing ceremony.

MERCK Foundation, a non-profit company and subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany, and Universiti Malaya have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at providing fellowship training for post-graduate medical trainees from Africa and other developing countries.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching witnessed the event.

E-Merck KG Executive Board chairman and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees chairman Prof Dr Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp said: “We are delighted to partner with Universiti Malaya, to provide clinical training and fellowship programmes to young healthcare practitioners from Africa and other developing countries.”

“I strongly believe that building capacity is the right strategy to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare since the lack of professional skills is a key challenge in these nations.

“We have successfully conducted many educational and fellowship programmes in both Africa and Asia since 2012 and we will continue our long-term commitment through our Merck Foundation,” he said.

The collaboration formalised will facilitate academic support to post-graduate medical trainees in the fields of diabetes, oncology and infertility.

Merck Foundation chief executive officer Dr Rasha Kelej explained that this partnership is essential for the sustainability of Merck Foundation programmes, especially ‘Merck Cancer Access Programme’ and ‘Merck More Than A Mother’ – that serve as platforms to train oncologists and embryologists to improve access to fertility and cancer care in Africa and Asia.

UM vice-chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim who welcomed the collaboration with the foundation, said: “Many of our own medical professionals have, in the past, benefited from training in the United Kingdom and Australia.”

“For UM, the partnership with the Merck Foundation reaffirms our standing and role as Malaysia’s oldest and most established higher learning institution. It also contributes towards our nation’s aspiration of gaining global prominence as an international education hub with a difference,” he added.

UM Faculty of Medicine dean Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said: “We possess the requisite experience. Our medical faculty has a well-established post-graduate medical training programme that has already produced an international cohort of graduates from Indonesia, India, Mauritius, and the Maldives.”

For the Merck Foundation, the collaboration exemplifies an effort to help improve the quality of healthcare in underserved communities around the world.

The Merck Capacity Advancement Programme has benefited over 30,000 medical graduates across Africa and Asia.

Merck Malaysia president and chief executive officer Ee Boon Huey said the collaboration exemplifies Merck’s belief in working together for common good.

“We are committed to broadening our relationships and matching our resources with the strengths of others so that together, we may change the world,” she added.

University Malaya Medical Centre director Prof Dr Tunku Kamarul Zaman Tunku Zainol Abidin was also present at the event.

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