Merck has announced the winners of the “Merck Diabetes Award” for Africa and Asia. The 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 invited medical students to apply for the “Merck Diabetes Award” 2016 with the theme of “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 awareness, early detection and prevention in their countries. In addition, to include ways to encourage their society, scientific community, local authorities, media and relevant stakeholders to ‘think and act’ on diabetes every day.
The scientific committee received over 500 concept submission applications from universities in Africa and Asia and 10 winners were selected for the award. The winners from each university have been provided with an opportunity to study for a one year postgraduate diabetes diploma at the University of South Wales, United Kingdom.
Elisha Kipkemoi Ngetich
College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya
“I am ecstatic at winning the Merck Diabetes Award 2016. I thank Merck for providing this wonderful platform where students can further their studies in non-communicable diseases. With the current surge in the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya and other developing countries, the timing of this award could not have been better. Over the years, I have developed an interest in diabetes because I have seen patients in the different stages of this disease. I have also seen the impact that early recognition and management of this disease can have and I am privileged to have this chance to broaden my understanding of the disease through this postgraduate diploma course. This will also build me academically and professionally as well. This is the kind of initiative that Kenya and Africa at large needs, an initiative to empower young doctors and other healthcare professionals. This information then trickles down to the patients and ultimately we end up with a healthy Kenya and Africa. I am convinced that the knowledge I will gather during this experience will significantly impact on my practice in the near future and hence a better outcome for our diabetic patients.”
College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya
“The Kenyan healthcare system faces new challenges in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases and so efforts by Merck to increase capacity are timely and highly welcomed. I am honoured to receive the Merck Diabetes Award that will advance my medical career and enable me to provide the much needed expertise in diabetes management in Kenya.”
Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, India
“Merck is providing an opportunity for the care and control of diabetes in the community especially in Asia and Africa, where non-communicable diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Merck Capacity Advancement Programme is a ground-breaking initiative to control this rampant and growing epidemic of NCDs like diabetes, by motivating and sensitising undergraduate students like us, and giving them a chance to gain an in-depth, holistic knowledge about every aspect of this disease. I am sure that this initiative will have a profound impact on the health scenario, and the incidence and morbidity of NCDs will be lowered significantly.”
Aga Khan University, Kenya
“This award is important to me because it marks the start of a future career in diabetes management which I am very passionate about. It will help build diabetes expertise in my country, which is badly needed due to the exponential increase in diabetes cases within the population. Moreover, it will help achieve the wider goal of building capacity in diabetes management especially in the low and middle income countries whose non-communicable disease burden is on an upward trend without a commensurate increase in the number of experts to deal with this pandemic.”
Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda
“I am grateful and happy that Merck has provided us with this great opportunity to advance our knowledge in diabetes. This opportunity of increasing the number of diabetes specialists will step up efforts in the fight against this 'silent killer', especially here in Africa where the burden of the disease is sky-rocketing day and night. This will help save many lives.”
“It is a privilege to acquire current knowledge in the management of diabetes. It is my hope that at the end of this course l will be a better advocate in diabetes prevention and offer comprehensive diabetes care. The time is now to curb the menace of this disease.”
Nujood Al Shirawi
Intern, Dubai Health Authority, United Arab Emirates
“Diabetes is a lifelong illness which affects the lives of more than 14% of adults in UAE. With such a high percentage, everybody in the UAE knows individuals battling diabetes. I am grateful to Merck and Dubai Medical College for enabling the young doctors in the region to participate in such a program where a platform has been created for exchange of knowledge between national and international experts. I am looking forward to the diabetes diploma and believe it will add to my existing knowledge and help develop my understanding of this illness which affects nearly every organ in the body. It was a wonderful experience to be part of this award and I would encourage all my colleagues to participate in any future events.”
Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Ghana
“In Ghana many people do not have access to healthcare services in order to identify, diagnose and treat diabetes and its complications. It is essential to achieve adequate diabetes care as the number of people living with the condition continues to escalate. There is also a need to commit resources to diabetes education across Ghana and the African continent at large. Until this happens large numbers of people will end up experiencing potentially preventable diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation.
The reason why this award is important to me is because Merck has given me an opportunity to take my trade outside the consulting room and making it possible for me to help more people; to make my voice louder and to help those who can’t help themselves.
Access to diabetic care in Africa will slowly grow with the initiation of this award, because it will create ‘diabetes scholars’ who will have more insight and knowledge on the best care needed for patients and how to facilitate it. Together, our voices will resonate the need for change and improved management strategies, which will change the face of diabetes care in Africa. The mobilisation of professionals across the continent of Africa is the first step in forming a platform where ideas can be put across and shared to make diabetic care easily accessible.”
General Practitioner, University of Indonesia, Indonesia
“Indonesia is the fifth largest population with diabetes, yet 73.7% is undiagnosed because of lack of awareness. One of them could be someone we love. This award means everything to me, so I can do something for my family, my people and my country.”
Ken Munene Nkonge
University of Nairobi, Kenya
“Similar to other countries in Africa, majority of people living with diabetes in Kenya are diagnosed late, when the options available for preventing complications of the disease are few and suboptimal. I strongly believe that community-based preventative measures alongside early diagnosis and management of pre-diabetes and related co-morbidities such as obesity and hypertension are essential to reducing the burden of Type 2 Diabetes on Kenya’s health care system. The Merck Diabetes Award is important to me because it will empower me with the knowledge and skills needed to make this belief a reality across Kenya. As the recipient of this award, I look forward to this amazing opportunity.”
About the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP)
Merck CAP is a 5-year program aiming to expand the professional capacity in developing countries in the areas of research and development, advocacy building, supply-chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, medical education, and community awareness. It was established in 2012.
As part of the CAP initiatives, more than 17,000 medical students from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda in addition to Asian universities such as Maharashtra University, India and University of Indonesia, have benefited from this program with the aim to reach 25,000 by 2018.
Merck Capacity Advancement Program
Twitter handle: MerckCAP
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Please go to www.merck-cap.com & www.merck-africa.com for more information