Merck Foundation, MAHE to train embryologists from Asia, Africa

Manipal: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA, Germany, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education or MAHE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to partner in providing embryology training program for Africa and Asia.

During the event, Dr. Rasha Kelej said, “We are pleased to partner with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education in India to provide hands-on practical training to develop embryologists’ platform in Africa and Asia to increase the number of standalone embryologists, and to improve the access to cost-effective fertility care in the developing countries, since the lack of trained and skilled health personnel is the main challenge in Africa and Asia.”

Merck Foundation, in partnership with MAHE, launched the Merck Embryology Training Program, a certified course in Assistive Reproduction and Embryology through its ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign.

During the event, Professor Poornima Baliga, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of MAHE said, “Merck Foundation is working for a noble cause, and we are excited about this partnership and hope for a long-term partnership with the foundation.”

Professor Pragna Rao, Dean, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, added, “We are glad to be a part of this wonderful initiative of Merck Foundation.

We appreciate the Merck Foundation’s efforts to break the infertility stigma and to build fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.”

The program aims to bridge the deficit of highly skilled Embryologists in Africa and part of Asia to match the ever-rising demand for fertility care in these countries.

“The training program will shoulder the responsibility of fine-tuning and honing the delicate skills of the embryologists in IVF Centres, and emphasize the importance of ethics while handling human sperm, eggs and embryos,” said Professor Satish Adiga, who is heading the training program.

Merck Foundation is planning to progressively scale-up to more African and Asian countries in addition to other developing countries.

Through the clear benefits demonstrated of improving healthcare capacities, cultural shift to destigmatise infertility, the Merck More Than a Mother has sustained active participation in the different countries since 2015.