Drugmaker Trains “Diabetes Ambassadors” in Africa

Pharmaceutical Executive

German drugmaker Merck KGaA has begun the second year of its five-year project to provide diabetes management courses for medical and pharmacy students in African Universities.

German drugmaker Merck KGaA has begun the second year of its five-year project to provide diabetes management courses for medical and pharmacy students in African Universities.

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) will be provided at the Universities of Nairobi, Makerere, Uganda, and Namibia, before moving to Tanzania and Ghana. Merck is also offering every healthcare provider in those countries and the rest of Africa free access to the lectures via e-learning at www.managediabetesonline.org.

This year the company aims to reach 2,000 students and rural healthcare providers, who will have the opportunity to become “diabetes ambassadors” across Africa.

Merck’s Dr. Stefan Oschmann and Professor Sidat Mohsin, dean of the medical school at Eduardo Mondelane University, Mozambique.

The challenges faced by African countries in tackling diabetes are well known:  services for the care of chronic diseases are poorly organized; public awareness about diabetes is limited, and well-structured education programs for patients and health professionals are unavailable.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people with diabetes in Africa could double by 2035. The proportion of deaths due to diabetes in people under 60 years in Africa is currently 76%, and 46% of people living with diabetes are still undiagnosed.

Next year Merck’s program will be extended to more universities across Africa such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, and to Asian countries such as Indonesia and India.