Merck foundation CEO makes list of ‘100 Most Influential African Women 2020’

Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother, has been featured in the list of 100 Most Influential African Women 2020, released by ‘Be a Girl’ Initiative, for the second time as she was selected to be ‘One of Most Influential African Women by New African Magazine, UK, 2019.’

Kelej has been recognised for her efforts through Merck Foundation programmes to train thousands of African doctors, to support African communities during the coronavirus lockdown and to empower girls in education so that they can reach their potential and pursue their dreams through “Educating Linda” programme.

This is for the second time, as she made the 100 Most Influential Africans (women and men) in 2019 by New African Magazine, UK, for empowering women in general and infertile women in particular through the ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign, a movement that aims to empower childless and infertile women through access to information, education, and change of mind-sets.

Kelej is well-respected in the African communities for her dedication and passion to unleash the potential of young Africans and her coherent strategy and implementation of serious programs that shape the public healthcare landscape in Africa positively.

More than a thousand young doctors from 35 countries have benefited from unique opportunities of specialty education in many fields such as diabetes, cardiovascular, endocrinology, sexual and reproductive medicines, respiratory, acute medicines, oncology, fertility, embryology, and scientific research.

Expressing gratitude on the recognition, Kelej said, “I feel honored and proud to receive this recognition and to be included in this prestigious list among such renowned African women from all spheres of life. This is an important recognition not only for me but to Merck Foundation and our team.

“As an African and an Egyptian woman, I have a great passion for improving access to equitable and quality healthcare solutions for all Africans.

“I am very lucky to work as CEO of Merck Foundation as I am empowered by them to realize our unique vision through such successful pan African programmes in partnership with African first ladies, to contribute to the future of these girls as part of our signature campaign ‘Merck More Than a Mother.’ I strongly believe that empowering women starts with education, to enable them to be healthier, stronger, and independent.”

She added, “This recognition will also encourage and motivate me to empower the talented girls of my beautiful continent. I promise to use my influence to support and empower women, support girl child education, and build healthcare capacity in Africa, Asia and beyond.”

The list has a representation of the most powerful African women from 34 countries, chosen from various career backgrounds including diplomacy, philanthropy, politics, activism, entrepreneurship, business leadership, and entertainment.

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