…From Merck Foundation, Ghanaian First Lady
By Josephine Akaerr
The philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany Merck Foundation together with Ghanaian First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, The First Lady of Ghana and her Foundation have presented boxes of relief items to more than 1000 persons living with disabilities, people living with HIV/ AIDS and casual and daily workers with special focus on women who are most affected by the Coronavirus (COVID -19) lockdown, to curb its spread in Ghana.
The boxes which contain rice, cooking oil, milo, sugar, milk, canned tomatoes canned fish and other items, were distributed to them under physical distancing protocols.
CEO of Merck Foundation Dr. Rasha Kelej explained, “Lockdown to fight coronavirus is going to hit most casual and daily workers very hard. Therefore, in addition to raising awareness about Coronavirus through our “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards, Merck Foundation decided to support African governments strategy to save the people’s living and livelihood with the aim to integrate it into the COVID-19 combat strategy. After Our partnership with First Lady of Ghana, we are going to scale up this initiative to further support 600 to 1000 poor families in each of the following countries in partnership with their First Ladies; DRC Congo, Niger, Burkina Fuso, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Liberia and Sierra Leone with the aim to save the livelihood of thousands of families with special focus on women in Africa in the times of Coronavirus as part of “Separated but Connected” Merck Foundation Initiative”.
The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of Merck More than a Mother emphasized, Rebecca Akufo-Addo “We thank Merck Foundation, our partner for their support. We are committed to supporting those most affected by the current lockdowns in the epicenters of Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi, and we encourage others to partner with us to make life much bearable for our vulnerable, especially women and children.”
Dr. Kelej further emphasized that, “Ghana and the rest of the world are going through exceptional circumstances, and the various institutions and bodies involved in it must support those who are unable to endure the conditions of their business’ closure so that they can support their families, and that positive participation contributes to the continuation of this large group by adhering to health instructions and quarantine in their homes because in case they are unable to do so, they will have to go out to search for other work, which exposes them and exposes everyone to the risks of transmission of this infection with the coronavirus”.
Dr. Rasha Kelej explained, “I’d like to shed a light on a very important issue; The pandemic has led to a horrifying increase in violence against women. Women and girls are under higher risk of domestic violence due to increased tensions in the household. Moreover, school closures translate into a heightened burden of informal care within families, affecting women negatively more than men. Many of these women are currently trapped with their abusers, struggling to access any support service, they are lonely and suffering in silence. Therefore, Merck Foundation in partnership with African First Ladies supports casual workers with special focus on women as part of our signature campaign Merck More than a Mother”.