“Anit-Malaria”: Engagement Campaign
04 JAN 2017
The Malaria Day donation supporting healthcare centers in Tanzania and leading to key exchanges with local governmental officials.
"Anit-Malaria": Engagement Campaign
Closing the year 2016, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was acknowledged by the community to be a key global health partner for developing countries through its 4th place on the ATM index amongst the top 20 pharma companies worldwide and more specifically recognized for its R&D efforts, ranked 2nd.
Indeed our companies current engagement and efforts in the area of infectious diseases is increasingly being showcased through global health-related initiatives, programs and activities, including the 'Anit-Malaria' program. Under the leadership of Beatrice Greco (Director of Malaria & Diagnostics Innovation Cluster, Global Health), the program synergies and leverages internal Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, competencies from different business sectors in order to impact children and pregnant women suffering from malaria. It aims at delivering integrated health solutions including medicines and devices, diagnostics, personal protections as well as strengthening local healthcare systems.
"In developing countries, tackling malaria, as many other diseases, requires to integrate pharma and life technology approaches. We need not only to develop new drugs to combat increasing drug resistance, and technologies to identify the patients carrying the various types of parasites but also to consider the environment in which they are evolving and address those challenges too" said Beatrice Greco, also initiator and leader of the Anti-Malaria program. "At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, we have the unique opportunity to develop a holistic approach to malaria by merging our competencies and expertise. That's what Anit-Malaria is about and we have today a great cross-business team focusing on various aspects of the program" she added.
As part of this program, the "Malaria Day", held on the Worldwide Malaria day (April 25th), has become an annual event for the company. In 2016, the Malaria Day focused on "engaging Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, employees against Malaria": by supporting the event, our employees raised sufficient funds to buy over 40 beds and bulks of mosquito nets to be delivered in African health centers where vulnerable mothers and children suffering from malaria seek healthcare. The 'Bishop Edward Michaud Memorial' mission in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) was selected by our local and regional Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, managers, Godfrey Matata and Stefan Maron, after visiting the center and realizing the sore need for additional bed capacity within the wards. At the mission, on November 14th, 2016, the donation event was held, in presence of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, representatives from the Global Health team and the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, South East Africa management. Our colleague, Anna Carolina Melo (Import/Export Analyst, Supply Network Operations - Brazil) who was randomly selected amongst the over 2000 participants at the Malaria Day 2016, officially donated the beds and bed nets, on behalf of all Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, employees.
"The possibility of participating in Anit-Malaria in Tanzania was an indescribable experience!" said Anna Carolina. "To witness the reality of families in Tanzania, even for a few hours, makes us reassess our priorities and expectation in life. I could see how the beds and mosquito nets donated to Bishop Edward Memorial will make all the difference in the children's lives. Surely experience as this make us better people and more willing to serve the patient with our work."
Although this donation could be considered as a modest token of our support, it has proven to be important for the local patients and the healthcare providers from this small community: it will allow mothers and children to have proper accommodations when remaining in the facilities for treatments against malaria, and the mission to increase their capacities at treating very vulnerable and uncared populations
On the same day, a similar donation for a public hospital was also received by the Deputy of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health. Our members conveyed at the Tanzanian Ministry of Health to formalize and celebrate the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, donation; the meeting was a great opportunity to open important dialogues with local governmental officials for potential collaborations to control malaria and to fill the gap of unmet medical needs.
"We are very concerned with the prevalence of malaria across the world, and specifically, in Tanzania, and we want to collaborate with the government to control it" said Stefan Maron, Managing Director, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, South East Africa. "The death toll for children has been cut in half over the last 6 years, but still we are struggling to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease", he concluded.
Malaria remains, with Tuberculosis and HIV, a major health and economic burden in a number of developing countries, and is amongst the 3 top killers of children under 5 years old. According to the latest WHO figures, about 3.2 billion people are at risk of malaria every year. In 2015, roughly 214 million malaria cases worldwide and an estimated 438 000 malaria deaths were recorded. About 91% of these deaths occur in Africa – more than 70% of them in children below 5 years old.