|Merck CAP- Africa mdical education for medical students at Nairobi University. (Photo: Courtesy)|
Nairobi, Kenya: Merck, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company has started its second year of its five year project to provide European Accredited Clinical Diabetes Management course for medical and pharmacy students in African Universities by introducing E-Learning.
The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant is implementing a well-structured and coherent Corporate Social Responsibility strategy that features a medical education Africa tour to improve diabetes healthcare in Africa.
At the beginning of September 2014, Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) will kick off its second year of the Clinical Diabetes Management Program targeting medical and pharmacy students in University of Nairobi.
Merck will provide the same course to medical students of Makerere University, Uganda and University of Namibia.
At the end of September 2014, Merck CAP will provide a similar course addressing chronic diseases management focusing on Diabetes and hypertension. The course will be offered in Portuguese by International and local professors to medical students at University Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique and Katyavala Bwila University, Angola.
In November 2014, Merck will head to Tanzania where they will provide the clinical diabetes management course to medical students of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science before extending the same to University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.
Every healthcare provider in those countries and the rest of Africa will have free access to all the lectures on a dedicated website www.managediabetesonline.org and will be able to undergo an assessment to obtain CME hours on line.
Dr Stefan Oschmann, Merck Pharma CEO emphasized “ Merck is supporting E- Health which can definitely contribute to bringing healthcare to underserved populations; increasing the effectiveness and reducing the costs of healthcare delivery; improving the effectiveness of public health programmes and research; preventing illness and managing and treating chronic diseases.”
“Merck is confident that supporting this E- learning platform for the diabetes educational program will definitely improve the access to innovative and high quality healthcare solution and disease awareness which will contribute significantly to the economic and social development in Africa”. He added.
Rasha Kelej, the head of Global Market Development and Business Responsibility of Merck Serono said, "Using the power of mobile and internet technologies to share information via SMS or dedicated website to healthcare providers and the general public across Africa especially in rural areas, will help to increase access to training, education and raise awareness on the issues of diabetes so that they learn to better prevent, diagnose and manage the disease, such as the websites for Africa Continues Medical Education ( CME) tour for physicians in rural areas.
In 2014, Merck aims to reach 2,000 students and rural healthcare providers so that ultimately they become Diabetes ambassadors across Africa.
Uganda Minster of State of Health, Sarah Opendi informed the gathering that sharing information via SMS to healthcare providers and the general public across Uganda especially in rural areas will help raise awareness on the issues of diabetes so that they learn to better prevent, diagnose and manage the disease.
“Merck’s initiative to utilize mobile technology in order to promote public awareness and early detection of the disease will strengthen health systems by improving their capacity to effectively prevent and control NCDs,” she added.
“Because of the lack of awareness on disease symptoms many diabetes patients are diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers, gangrene, heart diseases etc. Merck is dedicated to fight diabetes via its Capacity Advancement Program and Diabetes awareness campaigns. This is a great initiative that we welcome,” said Dr. William Lumuh, the President of the Uganda Diabetes Association.
Merck is now the key partner of Communities, Academia and local authorities, several Public Private Partnerships with national and local stakeholders have been built to ensure the successful implementation and outcomes delivery of the program.
Dr Stefan Oschmann, Merck Pharma CEO stated; “Merck has longstanding experience in managing this disease. Therefore, we are willing to share our knowledge with healthcare practitioners and medical and pharmacy students in Africa. On this we are partnering with Ministries of health, Health science universities, local research institutions, patient associations, community and media in supporting the development of the educational program to cover all the learning gaps of the disease management.”
According to IDF, The number of people with diabetes in Africa would double by 2035. The proportion of deaths due to diabetes in people under 60ys old in Africa is 76% and 46% of people living with diabetes are still undiagnosed.