Product donations and philanthropic activities are not stand-alone initiatives. To us, they are part of a broader approach. We support awareness and education programs as well as capacity and infrastructure building in developing countries.
Medicine donations by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
In general, we conduct our medicine donation activities within developing healthcare systems and prioritize them based on expressed need and expected impact. Medicines may also be donated in response to emergencies or specific one-time requests. In 2013 for example, in Colombia, the company supported a medical and surgical brigade that brought medical care to a population in extreme poverty, in which 812 people benefited from the three-day-project. Our Praziquantel Donation Program is our largest philanthropic initiative.
All medicine donations by the company are in alignment with the WHO , our company’s Policy and Procedure for Approval and Notifications of Donations and Support, as well as our Code of Conduct and relevant local regulations. The position paper on pharmaceutical product donations in the provides further information on our product donations.
Improving health infrastructure and awareness
We support several projects to educate healthcare providers and patients on disease prevention. As part of our Praziquantel Donation Program, educational material is produced and distributed in order to further promote the prevention of schistosomiasis. In the Jharkhand region in northeastern India for example, we are working to improve the education as well as health care available in the areas where mica, a raw material for our pigments, is mined. The Suswastha project in India aims to directly reach underserved rural patients and provide them with access to health solutions that meet their needs. In India, we also support the River Ambulance that helps expand access to health services and solutions to underserved local populations along the Narmada River. In Ghana, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany supports the Ghana WASH project to improve water, sanitation facilities and hygiene (WASH) among children, and will be providing training on water quality testing in the future. Furthermore, the company has created the "rural pharmacy" – an innovative pharmacy specifically designed for rural parts of Africa that is being piloted in Ghana.
In addition to these projects, since mid-2014 we have also been partnering with the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy (founded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania), Boehringer Ingelheim, and Bayer Health Care to support the expansion of four education centers in Tanzania for pharmaceutical assistants. The three-year project aims to improve access to high-quality medicines in rural Tanzania as well as to offer people better health consultation options.
Helping people help themselves
According to estimates, around 382 million people suffer from diabetes across the globe, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for a particularly large percentage of patients. Very few of these patients have adequate access to insulin, syringes, and the medical equipment needed to monitor their blood pressure. We are therefore committed to improving access to quality diabetes treatment.
Capacity Advancement Program (CAP)
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is committed to improving the accessibility and quality of diabetes treatment. Our Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a five-year program that aims to expand professional capacity in Africa and Asia in the areas of R&D, clinical research, supply-chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, medical education, and community awareness, with special focus on diabetes and non-communicable diseases. The program was established in 2012 and has been implemented across Africa, India and Indonesia in collaboration with ministries of health, health science universities and local patients’ diabetes associations. The goal is to raise awareness of diabetes by educating the current and future healthcare providers as well as supporting the healthcare system with ways to prevent, diagnose and manage diabetes effectively.
To spread awareness of our Capacity Advancement Program, we have conducted more than 250 events across Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Germany. Furthermore, the "Get informed Get Active Get Healthier" campaign has reached more than 25,000 people in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and India, providing patients with free screening and medical check-ups. Additionally, more than 100,000 patient leaflets about diabetes have been distributed in camps and in the largest supermarket chains in Kenya and Uganda for better coverage and reach to community members.
As part of CAP, in 2014 around 2,000 medical and pharmacy students from health sciences universities in Africa furthermore participated in clinical diabetes management training. This medical education program was developed by EXCEMED, an independent organization providing medical education programs in partnership with the Oxford Centre of Diabetes, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK, and was accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. In 2015, the company will provide the same course to medical and pharmacy students at the University of Indonesia and to medical undergraduates in 18 medical colleges of the Maharashtra University in India. CAP aims to reach 15,000 medical and pharmacy undergraduates in Africa and Asia by 2018.