a global challenge
Every year millions of people worldwide are infected with dangerous tropical diseases.
Assign the pathogens to the individual diseases to find out more about them!
- Around 6-7 million infected, mostly in South America (source: WHO)
- Pathogen (left): unicellular organisms, so-called trypanosoma
- Carriers/hosts (right): reduviidae, also known as assassin’s bugs. The pathogen enters the human body through the bug’s bite
- 206.4 million infected in 78 countries (source: WHO)
- Up to 200,000 deaths per year
- Pathogen (left): parasitic flatworms called schistosomes
- Carriers/hosts (right): the parasites are released from infected fresh water snails and contaminate humans through contact with water
- 219 million infected in 90 countries (source: WHO)
- 435,000 deaths in 2017
- Pathogen (left): single-celled parasites called plasmodia
- Carriers/hosts (right): female mosquitoes. The pathogen enters the human body through the mosquito’s bite
- 20.9 million people infected in 31 countries (source: WHO)
- 1.15 million cases of vision loss
- Pathogen (left): thread worms, so-called filarioidae
- Carriers/hosts (right): black flies. The pathogen enters the human body through the fly’s bite
- About 1 million new infections per year (source: WHO)
- Up to 30,000 deaths per year
- Pathogen (left): Unicellular parasites called leishmania
- Carriers/hosts (right): sandflies. The pathogen enters the human body with the fly’s sting
Bilharzia is a so-called neglected tropical disease or NTD.
To combat NTDs effectively, we focus on five areas:
Supply of medication
In 2018, we donated about 200 million praziquantel pills for treating schistosomiasis to World Health Organization (WHO). So far, we have provided almost 900 million tablets in total, enough to treat nearly 360 million school-aged children.
Researching new solutions
We are working on the development of anti-schistosomiasis drugs that can also be used by infants under the age of six. We also develop diagnostics to support schistosomiasis control.Did you know? We are also working on the development of environmentally friendly product solutions.
Informing the public
We participate in education initiatives that raise awareness of the causes and dangers of schistosomiasis and how to prevent it. We support educational projects in African schools and provide easy-to-understand information material for students and teachers.The education of children is a matter of the heart for us. Learn more here.
Improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene
Our partners in the fight against schistosomiasis are involved in so-called WASH projects to halt the spread of the disease through better infrastructure. WASH stands for “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene”.
Working with partners
In the fight against schistosomiasis we collaborate with several partner organizations in the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance (GSA). In 2017, we launched the information campaign #MakingSchistory together.More about this topic can be found in the Corporate Responsibility Report 2018.
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It’s vital that medicines get to where they are needed:
The last mile
Can we track shipments of our medicine donations to their intended destination?
The last few miles are often particularly critical when delivering medicines. That is why we use mobile networks to track our shipments as they are often well-developed in rural areas of Africa.
Supplies of our schistosomiasis drug praziquantel often travel thousands of miles to get to where they are needed – this creates an impressive logistical challenge. But delivery is especially difficult on the home stretch. Drug deliveries can get lost or the tablets are not distributed efficiently. With our NTDeliver Last Mile project, every time a teacher administers a dose of praziquantel to their students as part of the governmental treatment campaign, they send a text message to our software system. This tells the system how many children were treated and how many doses of the drug are still available.
The information gathered helps us to identify supply gaps and to improve the distribution of the drugs. And the potential of this technology has not yet been exhausted. In the future, it could even be possible to predict the need and ensure that more infected children are reached.
Real-time tracking of drug donations in Kenya
Partnering up against malaria:
All versus one
Malaria remains a major health problem in many countries. Effective approaches are needed to prevent infection and transmission and to test and treat patients.
Reliable partnerships are essential to control and eliminate malaria and other tropical diseases. This applies to research, but also to capacity building through programs with local institutions and through health education and awareness campaigns.
“Nobody should die from malaria. That’s why we have developed an integrated plan that provides innovative solutions to fight the disease. We collaborate with excellent partners in both, developed and developing countries, to achieve our goals in contributing to the control and elimination of Malaria.”Jutta Reinhard-Rupp, Head of Merck Global Health Institute (Global Health, Corporate Affairs)
The backbone of the economy
According to the International Labour Organization, 865 million of our mothers, daughters and sisters across the globe are not reaching their potential to contribute more fully to their national economies due to preventable causes.
Non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are such preventable causes. These are considered by World Health Organization to be the biggest threat to women’s health worldwide.
We believe that to unleash the economic power of women, governments, employers and other interested stakeholders must work together to improve women’s health so they - and by extension their families - can join, thrive, rise in their communities and live better lives.Learn more about our “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” initiative.
What do you think?
How much more could women contribute to global gross domestic product - that is, the total value of all goods and services produced annually - if women were enabled to participate in the labor market on equal terms to men?
A study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that women could contribute up to $ 28 trillion, or 26 percent, to global gross domestic product by 2025. That’s a 28 with 12 zeros!
28,000,000,000,000 USDSource: The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women’s Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth, McKinsey & Co., September 2015: http://bit.ly/20ZkOK4
Achieving more through partnerships
We believe that the most effective way to advance and develop new approaches is to work through robust public-private partnerships and innovative alliances.
World Malaria Day is just one of these. To mark the 2018 World Malaria Day, we signed a letter of intent with the Infanta Malaria Prevention in Ghana and ASPiRx, a Ghanaian bio-pharmaceutical manufacturer. In support of the National Malaria Control Program of Ghana, this collaboration wants to explore development of solutions for malaria prevention based on the insect repellent IR3535®.
New paths of malaria therapy
As part of our strategic collaboration with the University of Cape Town (South Africa), we have developed a new research and development platform. Within this collaboration, together also with the Medicines for Malaria Venture, we are looking for new therapeutic solutions for malaria. The project is co-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and also aims to help boost research in and for Africa.
Under a seperate program, we are also in the clinical development stage of a new compound for treating, and potentially preventing, malaria in children.
Reliably recognizing malaria
Malaria is hard to distinguish from other infections that cause high fever. Reliable methods of diagnosis are necessary to identify patients who actually have the disease. Only then can they be treated properly. We have therefore developed a kit containing a novel malaria detection and typing test, which is available for research use.