Leading healthcare company, Merck, is contributing to the fight against schistosomiasis in Mozambique – the deadly parasitic worm disease that has around 80% of Mozambicans suffering.
The German Bundesrat President Volker Bouffier and Merck Executive Board member Kai Beckmann presented 20,000 brochures aimed at educating children on the causes of the tropical worm disease to Mozambique’s Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saíde.
The contribution is part of the Merck Praziquantel Donation Programme. The healthcare and life sciences company is partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO) to fight schistosomiasis in Africa. The partnership is a central initiative of Merck, within the scope of its responsible corporate governance, to improve access to health for underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries.
‘We want to eliminate schistosomiasis in Africa. Thus we are not just donating tablets, but also taking a holistic approach,’ said Beckmann. Since 2007, Merck has supplied WHO with more than 200 million praziquantel tablets free of charge. So far, this has enabled the treatment of around 54 million patients.
‘The disease prevents them from learning and weakens the country’s development potential. With our education programme, we want to ensure that less children contract the disease. We want to give children new opportunities, while at the same time promoting economic growth and making a brighter future possible,’ continued Beckmann.
After Malawi and Senegal, Mozambique is the third African country to benefit from the education programme. So far, Merck has provided schools with a total of one million brochures and 75,000 posters. The material is available in English, French and Portuguese.