By Dipo Olowookere
Leading science and technology company, Merck, on Monday, announced winners of the Merck Diabetes Award “Every Day is a Diabetes Day” to mark the World Diabetes Day- WDD themed ‘Eyes on Diabetes’.
Merck Diabetes Award as part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program was launched in April 2016 in partnership with African and Asian universities with the aim of building a platform of diabetes experts across the globe.
“Merck plays an important role in building Diabetes Care capacity in partnership with African and Asian Universities. Today marks an important day in the fight against Diabetes as we celebrate World Diabetes Day. In this context, we have announced ten Diabetes Award Winners from Africa and Asia” says Belen Garijo, Member of Merck’s Executive Board and CEO Merck Healthcare. “This initiative fully illustrates our commitment to improving access to affordable Healthcare in Africa and other developing countries” Garijo added.
The scientific committee received over 500 concept submission applications from universities in Africa and Asia and 10 winners were selected for the award. The winner from each university has been granted a one year postgraduate diabetes diploma in South Wales University, United Kingdom.
“Merck Diabetes Award marks another step in our long term commitment to support diabetes care strategies in developing countries through working with local governments, academia and relevant stakeholders in building healthcare capacity with a focus on Diabetes, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases in various countries in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America” said Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare when making the announcement of the winners.
Merck invited all medical students to apply for the “Merck Diabetes Award” 2016 with the theme “Every Day is a Diabetes Day”. Students across African and Asian medical universities were asked to submit a concept paper on how to improve diabetes early detection and prevention in their countries and how to encourage their society, scientific community, local authorities, media and relevant stakeholders to think and act on diabetes every day.
“Access to diabetic care in Africa will slowly grow with the initiation of this award, because it will create ‘diabetes scholars’ with more insight and knowledge on the best care needed for patients and how to facilitate it,” said Dominic Oduro-Donkor, from Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Ghana and a Merck Diabetes Award winner.
“The Merck Capacity Advancement Programme is a ground-breaking initiative to control this growing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, by motivating and sensitising undergraduate students and giving them a chance to gain an in-depth knowledge about every aspect of this disease,” emphasized one of the winners Antara Bagchi, a student at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, India.
Ahmed Reja, the President of International Diabetes Federation, Africa and President of Ethiopia Diabetes Association emphasized: “We are very happy to partner with Merck to drive their strategy to build diabetes capacity and roll out the Merck Diabetes Award across the continent. The awards encourage the students to be more innovative and take a leadership position to fight diabetes in their own country.”
In addition, as part of its recognition of the World Diabetes Day, the Merck Capacity Advancement Program also launched its European Accredited Clinical Diabetes and Hypertension management 2016 tour across Africa and Asia. The program supports focused training to build diabetes healthcare capacity for medical undergraduates, postgraduates and healthcare providers in partnership with universities across the two continents.
More than 5000 medical undergraduates have benefited from the fourth edition of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program which covered eight African countries and is in partnership with Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; University of Nairobi, Kenya; Makerere University, Uganda; Muhimbili University, Tanzania; University of Ghana; University of Namibia; Eduardo Mondelane University in Mozambique and Agostinho Neto University, Angola. In Asia the tours are being conducted with Maharashtra University, India and University of Indonesia.
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