Merck one step ahead in combating diabetes in Africa
Merck, a leading healthcare product developer, is collaborating with Universities in Africa and Asia to introduce European Accredited diabetes management qualifications.
The 5-year program has been successfully implemented across Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Angola, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mozambique; it will expand into further sub-Saharan countries in coming years.
Rasha Kelej, Vice President of Merck Serono said: “The socio-economic burden of the disease can be reduced by timely interventions from trained healthcare professionals, so as many patients can be prevented from becoming diabetics at early stages.”
The Merck Capacity Advancement Program aims to expanding professional capacity in R&D, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, and pharmacovigilance. Due attention is given to providing adequate education to medical and pharmacy undergraduates, in addition to physicians and pharmacists in difficult to reach areas.
Merck has been managing diabetes cases since the late 1950s when it developed metformin; it is now seeking to raise awareness of the condition in less developed countries through public education and supporting local health care systems to help prevent, diagnose and manage the disease.
As part of its Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) over 5,000 African medical students in partnership with universities including Nairobi, Makerere, Namibia and Ghana, will benefit from the management training.
Merck is planning to target more than 15,000 students by the end of 2018, expanding to more African, Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries with particular focus on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, thyroid dysfunction and fertility management.
As Africa’s middle class grows in line with economic sophistication and growth, there will be an inevitable increase in the incidence in diseases of affluence; having education and training in place will doubtless save many lives.