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Africa Health Excon: Positioning Africa as the continental hub for health innovation and trade

Monday, 27 June 2022 15:53
Africa Health Excon: Positioning Africa as the continental hub for health innovation and trade

(MERCK ) - The Merck Africa Bureau aims to accelerate the business transformation of the company operations in Africa to ensure sustainable business and create long-term value. 

Merck, a leading science, and technology company, announced today its further commitment to Africa, by strategically expanding its access and awareness programs and strengthening the health systems and patients in low- and middle-income countries across the continent. The announcement came today during the Africa Health ExCon from 5th to 7th of June 2022 in Cairo, Egypt.

In this three-day event, stakeholders across Africa are meeting to learn from the worldwide leaders and experts in healthcare, as well as to share and exchange knowledge and experiences with more than 20,000 participants from more than 55 countries. The key objectives of Africa Health ExCon are refocusing on Africa's investment potential, ensuring equitable access of health technology, the thriving of the health and pharma businesses, and incubating health innovation and trade in Africa.

Our aspiration is to be one of the leading healthcare partners in sub-Saharan Africa and to work with NGOs and governments to build and strengthen sustainable health systems within it,” said Dr. Karim Bendhaou, Head of Merck Africa Bureau. “The Merck Africa Bureau aims to accelerate the business transformation of our operations in Africa to ensure sustainable business and create long-term value while seeking to balance environmental, social, and governance aspects. Through the four pillars of Private Public Partnership model, we work hand in hand with our stakeholders through various programs to fight counterfeit medicines, to invest in the technology transfer, to support supply chain sustainability and localization, and to decrease fragmentation of the market.’’

During the ExCon, Merck has unveiled plans to expand its footprint in Africa through a four-tiered program of awareness, diagnosis, training of healthcare professionals and treatment access. The company announced their brand-new Thyroid awareness program and upcoming launch of the Africa Cancer Care program in addition to enhancing ongoing initiatives.

We will remain fully committed to increase access to innovative medicines across Africa and on ground awareness campaigns in a favour of underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries in Africa through our investments and our innovations in science & technology, together with our external partners, said Ramsey Morad, Regional Vice-President, Head Middle East, Africa, Turkey & Russia/CIS at Merck Healthcare. “Beyond developing novel treatments, we must address the gaps in awareness, accessibility, affordability and availability of treatment.’’

Merck also continues its work in the fight towards the elimination of the neglected tropical disease (NTD) schistosomiasis towards its elimination as a public health burden. In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), we provide up to 250 million tablets of praziquantel per year to treat mainly school-aged children in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).  Since 2007, Merck has donated over 1.5 billion tablets and enabled the treatment of more than 600 million school-aged children in 47 countries in SSA. To support the elimination of schistosomiasis, Merck have adopted an integrated approach which, beyond medicines, includes health education as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.  We also conduct research for new drugs and diagnostics and develop, together with a consortium of partners, a potential new paediatric treatment option for children as of 6 years of age and below.

Since 2015, Merck has also been very active in the fight against malaria through a holistic approach to prevent, control, and eliminate the disease.  Examples include our M5717 drug development program as well as the creation of the Pan African Vivax and Ovale Network (PAVON) in over 10 countries, which has led to important policy changes regarding malaria in Botswana.

During the ExCon, Merck aims to strengthen our existing cooperation with the Pharma industry and Medicine & Quality Regulators across the continent in addition to highlighting strategic projects in Africa carried out by Merck’s Life Science business sector. These efforts bring our expertise in touch with various key African countries and research institutes to enable distributed manufacturing of much-needed vaccines, biological drugs, and therapies in African countries. ”Our goal at Merck is to support capacity-building of biologics manufacturing and development in Africa,” said Youssef Gaabouri, Head of Sales Middle East & Africa at Merck Life Science Bioprocessing. Furthermore, Merck provides expertise to Regulatory Agencies and shares knowledge regarding the use of quality products for audit purposes. In line with the Merck’s commitment to sustainable access to health solutions in low- and middle-income countries, we implement and enhance health access programs through our shared value initiatives, global health partnerships, and access to medicine strategy.

1 Merck

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