‘Merck Africa Luminary’ aims to raise quality of healthcare in Africa

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Merck today kicked off its second Merck Africa Luminary for the first time in Kenya.

During the inauguration of this year’s Merck Africa Luminary, Karl Ludwig Kley, Chairman of Executive Board and CEO of Merck emphasised, ‘We are pleased to engage with Kenya Ministry of Health and Government of Nairobi to improve access to better healthcare as part of our commitment to the social and economic development in the country. We will continue working closely with African governments, healthcare stakeholders and academia to improve the quality of healthcare across the continent.’

Merck has brought more than 200 African healthcare providers from more than 20 African countries to benefit from medical and scientific education and discussion on topics like healthcare capacity building and access to high quality, innovative and sustainable healthcare solutions.

At the end of the Luminary’s inauguration session, Merck celebrated the 80 year anniversary of its Seven Seas brand with participants. Seven Seas has 80 years of heritage in perfecting marine oil supplements and providing people with life-long wellbeing through its extensive selection of healthy supplements and oils.

During the Merck Africa Luminary, Merck announced a pan African campaign ‘Merck Africa Diabetes Days’ dubbed ‘Every Day is a Diabetes Day’ to encourage people to think about diabetes every day.

As part of this campaign, in 2016 Merck plans to provide 300,000 people in Africa with free screening and education about diabetes. The campaign will be kicked off first in Kenya in partnership with Diabetes Management Information Centre, Ministry of Health and the County Government of Nairobi and will extend to more African countries in the future.

Merck Africa Luminary is an annual forum where African healthcare providers meet to discuss and develop different strategies and programmes to improve access to innovative and equitable healthcare solutions across the continent. The first Merck Africa Luminary was held in Darmstadt, Germany in 2014.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, James Macharia stated at the event in Nairobi today: ‘We are delighted to host the annual ‘Merck Africa Luminary’ for the first time in Africa, here in Kenya. Our strategic partnership with Merck will add value to our country not only for boosting the healthcare sector but for the country’s economic progression as well. Private sector has so much influence over people’s life styles’.

The Governor of Nairobi County, Evans Kidero, said during his welcome speech: ‘We are happy to partner with reputable and innovative companies such as Merck. We believe that the only way to effectively prevent, detect and treat the rising number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension in Africa is through establishing Public Private Partnership models between health ministries, NGOs, academia, patient associations and industry in implementing successful programmes. The size and complexity of the task is so large that no single organisation or institution can manage on its own, so integration of efforts is necessary to achieve the health gains that our nation deserves.’

The participants also discussed the ‘Merck More Than Mother’ campaign during the Luminary. The campaign was kicked off in June 2015 in collaboration with University of Nairobi and Kenya Women of Parliament Association.

Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament for Taita Taveta in Kenya emphasised during her speech, ‘I am happy to be this campaign’s ambassador in Kenya as this initiative will define several interventions to reduce the social suffering and stigmatisation of infertile women and raise awareness about infertility prevention, male infertility and the necessity for a team approach to family building among couples.’

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