The rising number of people with diabetes all over the world is a call to prioritize diabetes care and awareness. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is committed to improving the accessibility and quality of diabetes treatment.
Our Capacity Advancement Program (CAP), established in 2012, is a five-year program that aims to expand the professional capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on diabetes in the following areas: R&D, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, medical education for pre-med undergraduates and healthcare providers in rural areas, and community awareness. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is collaborating with ministries of health, healthcare institutions, communities, universities, local research institutes, diabetes patients associations, and media. The common goal is to raise awareness of diabetes by educating the public and supporting healthcare systems on ways to prevent, diagnose and manage diabetes effectively.
One of the key success factors of the CAP is the country-specific, long-term, partnership-based approach, featuring initiatives that are aligned with the national strategies of individual countries. In order to inform our CAP approach, we held 154 stakeholder meetings in Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, Namibia, Mozambique, and Ghana. A wide variety of stakeholders has been involved in order to explore the countries’ needs, thereby tailoring the learning materials and the CAP implementation to suit the local communities.
Under the Capacity Advancement Program, by the end of 2013 more than 500 medical students from the University of Nairobi, the University of Namibia and the Makerere University in Uganda had benefited from a clinical diabetes management training program accredited in Europe, enabling them to act as diabetes ambassadors in rural and underserved regions. In 2014, the program will expand to Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia; it aims to reach about 9,000 pre-med undergraduates by 2018.
The Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, community awareness campaign “Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier” has thus far reached more than 3,000 people in Kenya and Uganda, providing them with free screening and medical checkups. The campaign has been implemented in partnership with the Ministries of Health of both Kenya and Uganda, the Kenya Diabetes Management & Information Centre, the Uganda Diabetes Association, and universities located in the individual countries. Patient education materials were tailored in collaboration with local patient diabetes foundations. More than 50,000 leaflets and 4,000 posters have been distributed at supermarkets, healthcare centers and “Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier” training camps in order to reach community members. By 2018, up to 20,000 people will have received free screening and medical checkups.