Over 232 million people in Africa suffer from the widespread tropical worm disease schistosomiasis. Every year, more than 200,000 die as a result of this insidious illness, which is caused by flatworms and spread through stagnant water. People become infected by the worm larvae while doing activities such as swimming, fishing, playing, or washing their clothes. The larvae penetrate human skin, enter the blood vessels and attack internal organs such as the liver, colon, spleen, or bladder. The infection rate is especially high among children, and the symptoms that result are particularly serious; schistosomiasis stunts growth, causes learning disabilities, and leads to anemia.
Since 2007, our company has been supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against schistosomiasis in Africa. Since the start of our Praziquantel Donation Program, we have donated over 290 million tablets. To date, more than 64 million patients have been treated, consisting primarily of school children. In 2014, we produced around 75 million tablets, more than 72 million of which were supplied to 20 African countries by the year's end, a collaborative effort with the World Health Organization (Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, the Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Marocco, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe).
In addition to this, we are engaged in research and education projects that are helping to contain this insidious tropical illness. Our efforts to fight schistosomiasis are in line with the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals, and are also part of the initiative
to fight neglected tropical diseases that was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in early 2012.