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.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.