First Lady Mutinta Hichilema’s Mission Against Vices and Support for Girls
Zambia’s First Lady, Mutinta Hichilema, is a strong advocate for girl education and combatting negative influences. She recently spoke at the Merck Foundation Zambia Annual Summit and Award Ceremony, where she emphasized the detrimental effects of practices like early marriages on girls’ education, stressing the need for transformative measures.
During her speech, the First Lady highlighted the crucial role of educating girls in fostering self-sufficiency and economic independence. She revealed a collaborative effort between her office and the Merck Foundation called ‘Educating Linda,’ which aims to support girl education by providing scholarships. These scholarships cover tuition fees, enabling girls to complete their tertiary education.
The ‘Educating Linda’ initiative has already made a significant impact, benefiting 21 girls who have received scholarships to pursue nursing and health sciences in colleges and universities. These scholarships not only help the girls achieve their academic dreams but also pave the way for their success in the healthcare sector.
The CEO of the Merck Foundation, Rasha Kelej, also addressed the gathering, emphasizing the Foundation’s commitment to empowering doctors in Africa and Asia. The Foundation has granted 1,570 scholarships to doctors in various underserved fields, including diabetes, oncology, fertility specialty, and respiratory care. Impressively, 126 of these scholarships have been awarded to Zambian doctors, bolstering the country’s healthcare capacity.
Health Minister Sylvia Masebo, represented by Permanent Secretary Christopher Simoonga, expressed gratitude to the Merck Foundation for its unwavering support in enhancing Zambia’s healthcare system. By providing specialized training to local doctors, the Foundation has contributed significantly to building a skilled medical workforce capable of addressing critical healthcare challenges in the nation.
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The Merck Foundation Zambia Annual Summit serves as a crucial platform to discuss and promote essential healthcare initiatives and advocate for women’s empowerment through education. Collaborative efforts like ‘Educating Linda’ and the provision of scholarships for doctors demonstrate the Foundation’s vital role in transforming lives and making a positive impact on Zambia’s healthcare and education sectors.