With medical personnel working tirelessly in the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), Merck Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Rasha Kelej has produced a pan African song titled ‘My White Army’ to support their acts of bravery by risking exposure to the virus.
Merck Foundation is a philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through technology.
In Malawi, the foundation works with first lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi Trust and recently offered scholarships to medical workers and journalists.
Kelej’s song comprises singers from 11 countries in three languages, English, Arabic and French.
“I am very proud that I have been able to coordinate, direct and produce this gesture of support across 11 African countries through the 11 talented singers in three languages Arabic, English and French. They have amazing voices & great diversity; and are from countries from North, South, East and West Africa. It was very difficult specially during the lockdown, but they were all super cooperative and we finally did it together,” she said.
The artists involved include A Pass from Uganda, CWesi from Ghana, Kambua from Kenya, Egypt’s Mahmoud Al Leithy, Nikki from Nigeria, Rozzy from Sierra Leone, Cameroon’s Salatiel, Sean K from Namibia, Sunita from Gambia, Rwanda’s Tom Close, and Wezi from Zambia.
“This song is my personal contribution to COVID-19 response. But at the professional level, through Merck Foundation, we have raced to respond to coronavirus in Africa in partnership with 18 First Ladies in four main focus areas which include; supporting the livelihood of thousands of casual workers and women during the lockdown, launching the ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards, launching an inspiring children storybook ‘Make the Right Choice’ to sensitize children & youth about Coronavirus and building healthcare capacity through providing online one year diploma for African doctors in Respiratory medicines and Acute Medicines.
“I have heard stories of horrible behavior against our health workers, such as, landlords are forcefully evicting them due to paranoia that they might spread COVID-19. It is shocking, illegal and inhuman behavior,” she said.
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