Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 10, 2014

Merck Increases Diabetes Awareness in Africa with SMS and E-learning

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 382 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, which represents a prevalence of 8.3 percent. If the condition is caught early, diabetes can be managed with the right diet, exercise and medication.

This, however, is not always possible in developing countries with limited resources and healthcare infrastructures. The International Diabetes Federation (IFD) said the number of people with diabetes in Africa will double by 2035, and nearly half or 46 percent of people living with diabetes in the continent are still undiagnosed. The oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, Merck, has announced the launch of its second year of a five-year project to provide European Accredited Clinical Diabetes Management courses for medical and pharmacy students in African Universities by introducing E-Learning.

The company is introducing SMS and e-learning solutions to increase healthcare capacity in Africa by making international diabetes experts available to aid African universities in seven Sub-Saharan countries.

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is launching its second year program for medical and pharmacy students in University of Nairobi, Kenya; Makerere University, Uganda; University of Namibia; University Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique; Katyavala Bwila University, Angola; Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science, Tanzania; and University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.

These courses are going to be addressing chronic disease management focusing on diabetes and hypertension with the goal of increasing disease awareness throughout these countries and the continent as a whole.

By using mobile devices and the Internet, Merck will be able to provide valuable information to the population at large, especially in rural areas where wireless technology has made great inroads.

“Merck is supporting E- Health which can definitely contribute to bringing healthcare to unserved or underserved populations; increasing the effectiveness and reducing the costs of healthcare delivery; improving the effectiveness of public health programs and research; preventing illness and managing and treating chronic diseases,” Dr Stefan Oschmann, Merck Pharma CEO emphasized.

This year the company looks to reach 2,000 students in the designated universities and countries so they can become ambassadors across Africa. In 2015 the company is going to increase the number of countries by adding Nigeria and Ethiopia in Africa, as well as Indonesia and India in Asia. The program has a goal of reaching at least 9,000 students by 2018.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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