Nov 132014
 

WASHINGTON, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

Catherine A. Novelli

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

University of Pretoria

Pretoria, South Africa

November 13, 2014

Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here to speak at this distinguished university and to visit your beautiful country. Thank you so much for inviting me. South Africa is the last stop on an Africa trip that included Tanzania and Kenya. Along the way, I’ve seen incredible energy and dynamism.

I’d like to speak today about a new economic reality and the policy choices we all face. These choices are in front of every government, business, university, and individual as they determine their economic future. The reality is, the world is more connected than ever before, with goods, services, information, people, and financial resources crossing borders at an unprecedented rate.

Before this speech and after it – perhaps during it – you will be looking at mobile devices, tapping into the internet, engaging in social media, and conducting business and commercial transactions on line. The object in your hand, perhaps a smart phone, is the result of a manufacturing process that started with innovation and design at various locations around the world, manufacturing at a host of other sites, and distribution and marketing from even different corners of the globe.

That’s the reality of today’s world, whether you are in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania – as I was in recent days – or Washington, DC, or London or Tokyo. Global supply chains have come to define the way we do business in today’s economy.

The Connected World

McKinsey Global Institute recently wrote that cross-border flows of goods and services totaled $26 trillion in 2012. This represents 36 percent of global gross domestic product, more than 50 percent larger than 20 years ago. About half of those flows are knowledge-intensive, compared to labor-intensive, and the proportion is growing. Intermediate goods – ones that are incorporated into a finished product—have become an ever-increasing proportion of trade. These goods in turn are fueling exports from the countries that have imported them. Over a quarter of the total value of global exports is made up of intermediate imports, and this share has nearly doubled since 1970. These statistics bring to light the changing nature of business. Older models of single-country, soup-to-nuts manufacturing arrangements are giving way to globally integrated supply chains. Innovation and design come from a worldwide network of research and development. Raw materials and components flow from site to site, supported by worldwide procurement systems, logistic hubs and warehousing. Marketing and financial services may be at other locales. Consumers are targeted for sales around the globe.

How Countries Can Take Advantage of Value Chains

So what are the implications for countries, companies and citizens of a world where global value chains are increasingly dominating trade? What policies should countries follow to benefit the most from value chains? I would suggest that countries need to focus on five policy areas as they enable their citizens to fully reap the benefits of today’s connected world.

First, open markets facilitated by fast customs procedures, international product standards and modern infrastructure is critical. Supply chain production is more complex than traditional export systems, with more import and export transactions for each unit of value added. This means that as goods and services move across multiple borders on their way to the final market, even small barriers can add up and affect the competitiveness of a product.

In the connected world, policies that may have offered protection to domestic firms in an earlier era, like import substitution, local content requirements, or data localization obligations, now make them less attractive as supply chain partners. An OECD study of local content requirements, found that local content requirements not only made countries less innovative, these requirements actually harmed the domestic market by raising prices for the public for products of lesser quality.

Because of just-in time production, concentrating on bread and butter trade facilitation issues like customs procedures, transportation and modern infrastructure is all the more important. Since products need to be sold in many markets, adhering to international standards is essential for their international viability.

Second, countries need to adopt legal and regulatory processes for doing business that are transparent, predictable, streamlined and include input from all stakeholders. The ability for investors to enforce contracts, and high standards for labor and environmental protections along with an intolerance for corruption are all key considerations for businesses in deciding where to locate or source.

I have heard some voices suggest that these “doing business” issues don’t matter, and that companies merely want to find the lowest labor costs. But in my experience, that’s not true. The ability to do business transparently matters a great deal to the bottom line. Morever, branded companies value their brand image, and don’t want to risk harming it due to scandals over labor or environmental conditions. Nor do they want to be in the position of being labor and environment regulators. Besides the moral issues surrounding poor labor and environmental enforcement, the need to constantly oversee these practices among suppliers when countries are not policing them themselves adds a great deal of cost.

Fostering Global Collaboration Through the Internet

Third, an open Internet, access to broadband, and free flows of data are essential to competitiveness. As I mentioned earlier, global supply chains are dynamic and highly collaborative, with teams of suppliers and purchasers from various stages of the value chain working together across borders to solve design, manufacturing, and marketing problems. This really is the essence of today’s connected world. This cannot occur without internet.

The best way to unleash the creativity and ingenuity of your people, your companies, and your universities is to let them connect with others to develop new ideas and start new businesses.

There is an inaccurate perception that the Internet mostly benefits industrialized countries. The truth is that the Internet’s economic benefits are increasingly shifting to the developing world. The Internet economy is growing at 15 to 25 percent per year in developing countries, double the rate in the developed world. In Turkey, for example, smaller businesses that use the web have experienced revenue growth 22 percent higher than those that do not. Here in South Africa, Ronnie Apteker founded the first Internet service provider and enabled countless new technology businesses. I am looking forward to meeting some of those new entrepreneurs tomorrow.

A recent report by the American think tank, the Brookings Institution, showed how the internet and cross-border data flows are providing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. The report notes that SMEs on eBay are almost as likely to export as large businesses and, in fact, over 80 percent of SMEs export to five or more countries.

Fourth, strong intellectual property protection allows countries to be part of a higher-value global supply chain. At a recent conference in Washington, General Electric noted that it maintains research and development centers in Shanghai, Bangalore, Munich, Rio de Janeiro and New York. Many other international firms have similar R&D footprints. This geographic diversity allows for an R&D operation that, given time zones, literally never stops. Companies look at many factors when considering where to locate their R&D centers, including the level of education, vocational training, and scientific collaboration. But the level of intellectual property protection is also critical.

Closely related to this is a fifth policy— an open market for services. We often think of trade as the physical movement of goods from place to place. But in today’s global economy, knowledge-intensive trade and investment, particularly in the services sector, plays an increasingly central role.

Economists from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have found that services now constitute 50% of the manufacturing process. Insurance, accounting and other financial services, and creative and design services, are all integral parts of supply chains. But in many countries, markets for these services are closed, or heavily regulated. If the goal is to maximize participation in global value chains, closed market policies like these no longer make sense.

Regional Trade Liberalization

The policies I have set forth are important, but not sufficient to be globally competitive. In addition to being islands of good practices, countries need to join together to create regions where those good practices are integrated.

Last August, I chaired a roundtable on global supply chains at the U.S-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. We invited corporate representatives as well as trade, investment, and economic ministers from African countries.

One of the most interesting themes was the need to create regional markets in Africa. Companies were clear that the markets in many individual countries in Africa are too small to support operations just for that market. That does not mean that there are no opportunities for smaller countries to benefit from the global supply chain. In fact, recent research indicates that, on average, regional trade agreements increase member countries’ trade about 86 percent within 15 years.

The European Union is perhaps the largest, best known and most successful example or regional integration. There is also the North American Free Trade Agreement, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. With Asia, we are now negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership, and with Europe we have launched talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Arrangements such as these, which lower barriers to trade and investment, deliver a big boost to commerce in member countries. These arrangements also offer ready-made hubs for setting up a global supply chain. Countries who haven’t established some type of true regional integration will find it harder to compete for the investment that a global supply chain brings.

In Africa, regional organizations like the Economic Community of West African States, the East African Community, and the Southern African Customs Union are working to create regional integration and address barriers so that countries can achieve economies of scale and maximize their comparative advantages. Nelson Mandela recognized the importance of looking at regional integration when he conceived of Development Corridors along cross-border transportation routes.

Africa and Supply Chains

Here in South Africa, I had a wonderful illustration of the connected world yesterday at the Ford factory in Silverton. It is an American investment, creating jobs in South Africa. Inputs, like raw materials and components, arrive from various locations around the world. Local workers assemble those components and the factory exports to other African countries and to European markets.

The United States recognizes Africa as a dynamic continent where economies are growing and innovation is taking root. Many African countries are reaping the benefits of economic reforms, better governance and social investments. We would like to be a part of this positive change and contribute to Africa taking its place in the global supply chain, so that the people of Africa can reap the benefits of global growth.

The United States is supporting Africa’s growth through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the Trade Africa Initiative, and similar efforts. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, for example, has issued grants of almost $10 billion to support projects in sectors like transportation, education, and property rights and land policy. Through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, a number of U.S. agencies are making available $7 billion in financial assistance to double access to power in six sub-Saharan African countries.

Some continue to argue that African nations need “protectionism” to compete. I disagree. Africans are strong, resilient, and ingenious, and I have seen in my meetings with entrepreneurs, businesses, and students people who can go toe-to-toe with the most competitive companies in the world. We need to go forward together towards openness, high standards, and opportunity for all of our citizens.

Thank you very much.

Nov 132014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Merck supports diabetes medical education and community awareness as part of its Capacity Advancement Program – CAP in Kenya.

• Merck and DMI are aiming to free screen more than 2000 community members on the World Diabetes Day

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, announces today its Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Campaign in partnership with Kenya Ministry of Health and Diabetes Management and Information center (DMI) on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/merck_logo.jpg

Merck Diabetes Awareness and prevention campaign will be at Kenya Diabetes Management & Information Centre ( DMI Centre) Rose Avenue, Hurlingham, Off Argwings Kodhek Road Nairobi , Kenya.

The press conference will be at Serena hotel, frangipani on the 14th of November from 7 am to 10 am.

Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to free screen more than 2000 community members for Diabetes in order to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the Kenyan population.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma, said: “By partnering with Kenya Ministry of Health and DMI we hope to quickly achieve our objective of advancing healthcare capacities and contributing to social and economic development of Kenya. Our goal is to improve the healthcare sector in the country through educating and empowering those affected by diabetes on how to manage and prevent it in Kenya and the rest of Africa.”

Eva Muchemi, Executive Director of the Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI) said: “World diabetes day is celebrated on 14th of November of every year around the world to raise awareness among peoples about diabetes with a theme “Healthy Living and Diabetes”. In simple words we can explain Diabetes as a condition which occurs due to the problem in production and supply of insulin in the body.

In large towns or metro cities, most of the people don’t eat healthy food, and also take less physical activity, that may be the major reason of this condition”.

Muchemi urged people to use diet food, proper exercises and medication to control Diabetes.

The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others.

The Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Health James Macharia has applauded Merck for its Capacity Advancement Program that was launched successfully in 2013 in Kenya. “The Ministry of Health is supporting private public partnership with reputable companies like Merck to promote key health guidelines and raise awareness about diabetes so that people learn how to prevent it” .he added.

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development said” Merck plays a great role in building healthcare capacity in Africa with special focus on diabetes and non- communicable diseases”.

The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa, but a scarcity of disease awareness and trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes at all levels of the health care systems.

“It was clear for us from the start that if not addressed as a matter of urgency, diabetes, will soon threaten the economic viability of Africa and sadly, many people who survive HIV and AIDS may die of diabetes complications”. She added.

Merck Capacity Advancement Program aims at expanding the professional capacity in Africa in the areas of research and development, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, community awareness and medical education for students at the University of Nairobi and healthcare providers in rural areas with special focus on Diabetes.

Macharia emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others”.

Merck is working with African countries to establish its Capacity Advancement Program and is actively engaged in a dialogue with local stakeholders in Kenya and Africa to launch a structured, country-specific and partnership-based agenda, which will add great value to society and the scientific community. In addition to awareness campaigns and medical education, Merck will continue to work with partners in Kenya and Africa at large to expand the capacity of professionals in diabetes management through its Capacity Advancement Program.

By end of 2018, more than 12,000 medical students from African and Asian universities of Health sciences will benefit from European-accredited clinical diabetes and chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to avert the diabetes epidemic.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Media contact:

Leonard Saika

Tel: +254722762037

e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.

Nov 132014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Merck supports diabetes medical education and community awareness as part of its Capacity Advancement Program – CAP in Kenya.

• Merck and DMI are aiming to free screen more than 2000 community members on the World Diabetes Day

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, announces today its Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Campaign in partnership with Kenya Ministry of Health and Diabetes Management and Information center (DMI) on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/merck_logo.jpg

Merck Diabetes Awareness and prevention campaign will be at Kenya Diabetes Management & Information Centre ( DMI Centre) Rose Avenue, Hurlingham, Off Argwings Kodhek Road Nairobi , Kenya.

The press conference will be at Serena hotel, frangipani on the 14th of November from 7 am to 10 am.

Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to free screen more than 2000 community members for Diabetes in order to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the Kenyan population.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma, said: “By partnering with Kenya Ministry of Health and DMI we hope to quickly achieve our objective of advancing healthcare capacities and contributing to social and economic development of Kenya. Our goal is to improve the healthcare sector in the country through educating and empowering those affected by diabetes on how to manage and prevent it in Kenya and the rest of Africa.”

Eva Muchemi, Executive Director of the Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI) said: “World diabetes day is celebrated on 14th of November of every year around the world to raise awareness among peoples about diabetes with a theme “Healthy Living and Diabetes”. In simple words we can explain Diabetes as a condition which occurs due to the problem in production and supply of insulin in the body.

In large towns or metro cities, most of the people don’t eat healthy food, and also take less physical activity, that may be the major reason of this condition”.

Muchemi urged people to use diet food, proper exercises and medication to control Diabetes.

The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others.

The Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Health James Macharia has applauded Merck for its Capacity Advancement Program that was launched successfully in 2013 in Kenya. “The Ministry of Health is supporting private public partnership with reputable companies like Merck to promote key health guidelines and raise awareness about diabetes so that people learn how to prevent it” .he added.

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development said” Merck plays a great role in building healthcare capacity in Africa with special focus on diabetes and non- communicable diseases”.

The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa, but a scarcity of disease awareness and trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes at all levels of the health care systems.

“It was clear for us from the start that if not addressed as a matter of urgency, diabetes, will soon threaten the economic viability of Africa and sadly, many people who survive HIV and AIDS may die of diabetes complications”. She added.

Merck Capacity Advancement Program aims at expanding the professional capacity in Africa in the areas of research and development, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, community awareness and medical education for students at the University of Nairobi and healthcare providers in rural areas with special focus on Diabetes.

Macharia emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others”.

Merck is working with African countries to establish its Capacity Advancement Program and is actively engaged in a dialogue with local stakeholders in Kenya and Africa to launch a structured, country-specific and partnership-based agenda, which will add great value to society and the scientific community. In addition to awareness campaigns and medical education, Merck will continue to work with partners in Kenya and Africa at large to expand the capacity of professionals in diabetes management through its Capacity Advancement Program.

By end of 2018, more than 12,000 medical students from African and Asian universities of Health sciences will benefit from European-accredited clinical diabetes and chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to avert the diabetes epidemic.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Media contact:

Leonard Saika

Tel: +254722762037

e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.

Nov 132014
 

MUMBAI, India, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Merck is conducting Diabetes awareness camps at 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra University.

• Merck joins Maharashtra University and Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) to celebrate the World Diabetes Day (WDD).

• Merck aims to support free Diabetes screening for more than 15,000 community members across Maharashtra state.

• The event will be at J J Marg, Nagpada-Mumbai Central, Off Jijabhoy Road, Mumbai.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, rolls out today its Diabetes awareness and prevention campaign in collaboration with University Of Maharashtra in order to improve diabetes awareness and community health level in India.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/merck_logo.jpg

On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Merck is supporting Diabetes awareness at 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra, aiming to screen and educate more than 15,000 community members across Maharashtra state. Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the Indian population.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma said: “Merck is pleased to collaborate with Maharashtra University of Health Sciences and Directorate of Medical Education & Research as part of our commitment to building healthcare capacity and providing sustainable access to high-quality health solutions and safe medicine in India”

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development of Merck Serono emphasized “We are pleased to engage with DMER and Maharashtra University as we are celebrating the World Diabetes Day focusing on “Healthy Living and Diabetes” in order to improve access to better Diabetes care as part of our commitment to the social and economic development of India. Supporting Diabetes education and Diabetes community outreach programs of the University will contribute significantly to improving awareness, early diagnosis and prevention of the disease across India”.

Merck has provided the necessary support to conduct Diabetes free screening and education to each medical college in Maharashtra University during the week of the WDD to raise awareness about diabetes and empower community members on how to better manage and prevent the disease.

Dr Pravin Shingare, Director of Medical Education and Research, Government of Maharashtra emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others. There is a strong, new argument that by combining screening to find pre-diabetes and early diabetes, along with management aimed to keep glucose levels as close to normal as possible, we can change the natural history of the disease and improve the lives of our patients. Hence, I urge all Indians to get screened and be active in order to get healthier”.

According to International Diabetes Federation- IDF, Type 2 diabetes is a global public health crisis that threatens the economies of all nations, particularly developing countries. Fueled by rapid urbanization, nutrition transition, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, the epidemic has grown in parallel with the worldwide rise in obesity.

India has the second highest number of people with diabetes in the world. Several factors contribute to accelerated diabetes epidemic in India and Asian countries, including the “normal-weight metabolically obese” phenotype; high prevalence of smoking; high intake of refined carbohydrates (e.g., white rice); and dramatically decreased physical activity levels..

.

Ali Sleiman, General Manager of Merck Serono ,India “We hope to maintain a long-standing relationship with Maharashtra University and DMER to improve the standard of healthcare and research capacity in order to tackle diabetes and non –communicable diseases in as a part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP).”

The 5 year program was kicked off in India last month and has been implemented successfully in 7 sub- Saharan countries which are Kenya, Uganda, Namibia Angola, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique and will further expand to other Sub-Saharan and Asian countries in 2014.

As part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP), by end of 2015, more than 3,000 medical students from the Maharashtra University of Health sciences will benefit from European-accredited clinical diabetes and chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to avert the diabetes epidemic. Merck is planning to target more than 12,000 students by the end of 2018 expanding to more African and Asian countries.

Prof. Arun Jamkar, Vice Chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, MUHS emphasized” It gives us immense pleasure to engage the stakeholders in the field of medicine and diabetes in Maharashtra In joint collaboration with DMER and Merck to implement their Capacity Advancement Program, this Diabetes education and awareness program aim to provide awareness, guidelines and clinical practice for prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes and its complications for Maharashtra community members and medical undergraduates of the 18 medical colleges in Maharashtra university.”

Padamshree Prof. Shashank Joshi, The president of Association of Physicians of India (API) welcomed the program “We are happy with our partnership with Merck to implement this program to support future diabetes health care in India. Diabetes mellitus is reaching potentially epidemic proportions in India. The level of morbidity and mortality due to diabetes and its potential complications are enormous, and pose significant healthcare burdens on both families and society”.

He added “Indians and Maharashtrians are uniquely predisposed to diabetes. WDD focuses this year on healthy living and diabetes, therefore it’s time for Indians to eat a healthy traditional low caloric breakfast and do adequate physical activity to control diabetes and stay away from modern fast foods as well as sedentary habits”

In addition to medical education and awareness, Merck shall continue to work with partners in India and Asia at large to expand the capacity of professionals in diabetes management through its Capacity Advancement Program (CAP).

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Media contact:

Leonard Saika

Tel: +254722762037

e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.

Nov 132014
 

MUMBAI, India, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Merck is conducting Diabetes awareness camps at 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra University.

• Merck joins Maharashtra University and Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) to celebrate the World Diabetes Day (WDD).

• Merck aims to support free Diabetes screening for more than 15,000 community members across Maharashtra state.

• The event will be at J J Marg, Nagpada-Mumbai Central, Off Jijabhoy Road, Mumbai.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, rolls out today its Diabetes awareness and prevention campaign in collaboration with University Of Maharashtra in order to improve diabetes awareness and community health level in India.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/merck_logo.jpg

On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Merck is supporting Diabetes awareness at 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra, aiming to screen and educate more than 15,000 community members across Maharashtra state. Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the Indian population.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma said: “Merck is pleased to collaborate with Maharashtra University of Health Sciences and Directorate of Medical Education & Research as part of our commitment to building healthcare capacity and providing sustainable access to high-quality health solutions and safe medicine in India”

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development of Merck Serono emphasized “We are pleased to engage with DMER and Maharashtra University as we are celebrating the World Diabetes Day focusing on “Healthy Living and Diabetes” in order to improve access to better Diabetes care as part of our commitment to the social and economic development of India. Supporting Diabetes education and Diabetes community outreach programs of the University will contribute significantly to improving awareness, early diagnosis and prevention of the disease across India”.

Merck has provided the necessary support to conduct Diabetes free screening and education to each medical college in Maharashtra University during the week of the WDD to raise awareness about diabetes and empower community members on how to better manage and prevent the disease.

Dr Pravin Shingare, Director of Medical Education and Research, Government of Maharashtra emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others. There is a strong, new argument that by combining screening to find pre-diabetes and early diabetes, along with management aimed to keep glucose levels as close to normal as possible, we can change the natural history of the disease and improve the lives of our patients. Hence, I urge all Indians to get screened and be active in order to get healthier”.

According to International Diabetes Federation- IDF, Type 2 diabetes is a global public health crisis that threatens the economies of all nations, particularly developing countries. Fueled by rapid urbanization, nutrition transition, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, the epidemic has grown in parallel with the worldwide rise in obesity.

India has the second highest number of people with diabetes in the world. Several factors contribute to accelerated diabetes epidemic in India and Asian countries, including the “normal-weight metabolically obese” phenotype; high prevalence of smoking; high intake of refined carbohydrates (e.g., white rice); and dramatically decreased physical activity levels..

.

Ali Sleiman, General Manager of Merck Serono ,India “We hope to maintain a long-standing relationship with Maharashtra University and DMER to improve the standard of healthcare and research capacity in order to tackle diabetes and non –communicable diseases in as a part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP).”

The 5 year program was kicked off in India last month and has been implemented successfully in 7 sub- Saharan countries which are Kenya, Uganda, Namibia Angola, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique and will further expand to other Sub-Saharan and Asian countries in 2014.

As part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP), by end of 2015, more than 3,000 medical students from the Maharashtra University of Health sciences will benefit from European-accredited clinical diabetes and chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to avert the diabetes epidemic. Merck is planning to target more than 12,000 students by the end of 2018 expanding to more African and Asian countries.

Prof. Arun Jamkar, Vice Chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, MUHS emphasized” It gives us immense pleasure to engage the stakeholders in the field of medicine and diabetes in Maharashtra In joint collaboration with DMER and Merck to implement their Capacity Advancement Program, this Diabetes education and awareness program aim to provide awareness, guidelines and clinical practice for prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes and its complications for Maharashtra community members and medical undergraduates of the 18 medical colleges in Maharashtra university.”

Padamshree Prof. Shashank Joshi, The president of Association of Physicians of India (API) welcomed the program “We are happy with our partnership with Merck to implement this program to support future diabetes health care in India. Diabetes mellitus is reaching potentially epidemic proportions in India. The level of morbidity and mortality due to diabetes and its potential complications are enormous, and pose significant healthcare burdens on both families and society”.

He added “Indians and Maharashtrians are uniquely predisposed to diabetes. WDD focuses this year on healthy living and diabetes, therefore it’s time for Indians to eat a healthy traditional low caloric breakfast and do adequate physical activity to control diabetes and stay away from modern fast foods as well as sedentary habits”

In addition to medical education and awareness, Merck shall continue to work with partners in India and Asia at large to expand the capacity of professionals in diabetes management through its Capacity Advancement Program (CAP).

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Media contact:

Leonard Saika

Tel: +254722762037

e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.

Nov 132014
 

PARIS, France, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The signatory organisations filed a complaint with a plaintiff triggering criminal proceedings today, for submission to the most senior examining magistrate of the Bamako Commune III Court of First Instance, for crimes against humanity and war crimes on behalf of 80 women and girls, for rape and sexual violence committed during the period that armed groups occupied northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.

Our organisations state that: “The Malian justice department needs to open a judicial investigation as soon as possible to investigate the crimes committed against women and girls during the conflict in the north of the country. This should be a priority for the Malian judicial and political authorities”.

Although many judicial investigations have been opened before the Bamako Commune III Court of First Instance against persons suspected of serious violations of human rights perpetrated in the north of Mali during the armed conflict, our organisations continue to deplore that the charges up to the present have nearly all been related to terrorism or criminal association, thus excluding violations of human rights. Likewise, charges for rape and other sexual violence, which are crimes against humanity and war crimes, have, up to now, been totally omitted from the scope of the investigations.

Since members of all the armed groups committed sexual crimes on a large scale, inquiries to establish the truth about what happened, to identify those responsible and to ensure justice for the victims should henceforth be a priority for the Malian judiciary.

“Since Malian national legislation has incorporated the classifications of crimes against humanity and war crimes set out in the Statute of the International Criminal Court, it is essential for the Malian justice department to adopt these charges”, our organisations declared and added: “These classifications make it possible to identify the real scope of the crimes perpetrated by bringing out their systematic or widespread character.”

It should be recalled that in January 2012, pro-independence and jihadist armed groups launched a major assault in the north of Mali. Since the Malian army was disorganised, poorly equipped, and destabilised by the military coup of 22 March 2012, in less than five months, the armed groups managed to take control of all the regions of northern Mali, in other words nearly two-third of the country, up to 50 km from the city of Mopti-Sévaré. Our organisations have evidence showing that during the offensive and the occupation of the conquered territories, members of all the armed groups, without exception, were guilty of mass sexual crimes, especially targeting women and girls of certain communities.

On 7 January 2013, the armed groups, especially MUJAO, Ançar Dine and Aqmi launched a major offensive and headed for Mopti. This triggered a counterattack on 11 January by the Malian armed forces (FAMA), with support from Serval, the French army operation that intervened at the request of Dioncounda Traoré, President of the transition government.

Nov 132014
 

PARIS, France, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The signatory organisations filed a complaint with a plaintiff triggering criminal proceedings today, for submission to the most senior examining magistrate of the Bamako Commune III Court of First Instance, for crimes against humanity and war crimes on behalf of 80 women and girls, for rape and sexual violence committed during the period that armed groups occupied northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.

Our organisations state that: “The Malian justice department needs to open a judicial investigation as soon as possible to investigate the crimes committed against women and girls during the conflict in the north of the country. This should be a priority for the Malian judicial and political authorities”.

Although many judicial investigations have been opened before the Bamako Commune III Court of First Instance against persons suspected of serious violations of human rights perpetrated in the north of Mali during the armed conflict, our organisations continue to deplore that the charges up to the present have nearly all been related to terrorism or criminal association, thus excluding violations of human rights. Likewise, charges for rape and other sexual violence, which are crimes against humanity and war crimes, have, up to now, been totally omitted from the scope of the investigations.

Since members of all the armed groups committed sexual crimes on a large scale, inquiries to establish the truth about what happened, to identify those responsible and to ensure justice for the victims should henceforth be a priority for the Malian judiciary.

“Since Malian national legislation has incorporated the classifications of crimes against humanity and war crimes set out in the Statute of the International Criminal Court, it is essential for the Malian justice department to adopt these charges”, our organisations declared and added: “These classifications make it possible to identify the real scope of the crimes perpetrated by bringing out their systematic or widespread character.”

It should be recalled that in January 2012, pro-independence and jihadist armed groups launched a major assault in the north of Mali. Since the Malian army was disorganised, poorly equipped, and destabilised by the military coup of 22 March 2012, in less than five months, the armed groups managed to take control of all the regions of northern Mali, in other words nearly two-third of the country, up to 50 km from the city of Mopti-Sévaré. Our organisations have evidence showing that during the offensive and the occupation of the conquered territories, members of all the armed groups, without exception, were guilty of mass sexual crimes, especially targeting women and girls of certain communities.

On 7 January 2013, the armed groups, especially MUJAO, Ançar Dine and Aqmi launched a major offensive and headed for Mopti. This triggered a counterattack on 11 January by the Malian armed forces (FAMA), with support from Serval, the French army operation that intervened at the request of Dioncounda Traoré, President of the transition government.

Nov 132014
 

WASHINGTON, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Jen Psaki

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

November 12, 2014

The United States is deeply concerned by allegations of mass rape by Sudanese military forces in Tabit, North Darfur. While we take note that the Government of Sudan recently allowed access to the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to investigate these allegations, we regret the fact that initial access was denied, and after significant delays, access to potential witnesses and victims was only allowed under close observation of Sudanese security officials. Such behavior calls into question Sudan’s compliance with the Security Council’s call to “remove all obstacles to UNAMID’s full and proper discharge of its mandate including securing freedom of movement in conflict affected areas.”

The United States urges the Government of Sudan to fulfill its obligation to grant immediate, unhindered, and full access to UNAMID and other UN agencies. We encourage UNAMID to continue its investigations and protection of civilians in an environment free from intimidation. We remain focused on seeing an end to violence against civilians in Sudan and stress that victims must be provided medical treatment and psychosocial support. The United States calls on the Sudanese authorities to end the culture of impunity by allowing UNAMID and the National Human Rights Commission to conduct credible, thorough and timely investigations and to hold accountable all those found to be responsible.

Nov 132014
 

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

 Orange (http://www.orange.com) announced the three winners of the Orange African Social Venture Prize during the AfricaCom Awards ceremony held in Cape Town last night

 The three winners will receive financial assistance and the first prize winner will also benefit from a patent application

 This year, a special Orange Partner award has been introduced to specifically reward a project using an Orange API

 The 10 finalists will benefit from support by experts through an online acceleration program offered by Orange on the VC4Africa platform

This prize, which has enjoyed considerable success since its launch in 2011, aims to support the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups that offer solutions using information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of people living in Africa.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/orange-logo.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1547

More than 450 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from May to September 2014, clearly demonstrating the underlying entrepreneurial vitality that exists on the African continent. Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields such as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and commerce illustrating the high potential of telecommunications for development in Africa.

The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose three prizewinners and an Orange Partner prizewinner from among 11 nominated projects that were presented on Orange’s pan-African web portal, www.starafrica.com.

The awards ceremony was held yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most significant innovations and achievements of the telecommunications industry in Africa. The winning projects are:

 The first prize was awarded to Modisar, a livestock farm management application (desktop, web and mobile) that makes it easy for a farmer to manage hisher farm. The application is designed to stimulate development of the livestock industry in Botswana and cultivate interest in livestock farming among younger generations by associating modern technologies with the nation’s passion for farming. Modisar aims to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the livestock sector, a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product in Botswana.

 The Station Energy Ivoire project was awarded second prize. This project, which aims to set-up several franchise stores in rural or urban areas of Côte d’Ivoire, is based on an innovative retail concept for energy services. Inspired the models used by both service stations and grocery shops in Africa, Station Energy is a solution that provides wide-spread and affordable access to energy. The shops are equipped with photovoltaic panels to provide a range of shared services (batteries allowing access to lighting, cold spaces, Internet access, sale of low consumption equipment, etc.).

 The third prize was awarded to the Senegalese company Bouquet Pass Santé. This project provides an online platform that enables people living abroad or in Senegal to pay directly for medical consultations for themselves or family members.

 Finally, a “favourite project” was also selected by visitors of the Group’s web portal StarAfrica. Over 20,000 visitors voted for the Ivorian project “Pubcell”. The concept is to offer advertisers the ability to promote their brands to mobile phone users by paying advertising fees for the rental of their private spaces.

 The special Orange Partner API prize was awarded to Mewanko Farm, a project that involves the creation of an online platform to enable the sale of agricultural products on both urban and international markets. The aim is to facilitate the lives of small farmers by using ICT tools to provide them with a direct means of access to markets and enabling them to increase their income.

In addition to financial grants of up to 25,000 euros and a patent in the country of deployment for the 1st prize winner, Orange will offer professional and expert coaching not only for the winners but for the 10 finalists of the Orange African Social Venture Prize 2014. The 10 finalists will join the coaching program hosted by VC4Africa.

“Entrepreneurs in Africa have always shown an ability to harness technology for the development of lasting, socially-responsible innovations that stimulate growth. Through this prize, Orange is proud to be able to contribute to this dynamic, particularly by providing active support to the prize-winners,” said Marc Rennard, Orange’s Senior Executive Vice President for Africa, the Middle East and Asia. “This year’s jury was impressed by the overall quality of the projects submitted. We can clearly see that technology is a relevant tool for driving social development, and this gives us an added stimulus in our commitment to Africa.”

Orange operates in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has close to 100 million customers. To contribute to the social and economic development of these countries, the Group has put together the “Orange for Development” programme, which is based on three central themes:

 the development of its networks to maximize the number of people who are able to benefit from digital services;

 innovation to meet the needs of populations through value-added services in essential fields such as healthcare, education, agriculture and banking services; and

 contributing to the local development of ICT markets and innovation ecosystems.

It is to meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, that the Group decided to launch the Orange African Social Venture Prize in 2011.

See the presentation of the competition on www.starafrica.com.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Orange.

Press contacts: +33 1 44 44 93 93

Tom Wright (tom.wright@orange.com) or Caroline Simeoni (caroline.simeoni@orange.com)

about StarAfrica

StarAfrica.com is Orange’s pan-African web portal, which combines content from all sub-Saharan countries in its six channels – news, soccer, more sports, music, education and jobs – with a special focus on young talent. The portal is also the online store that provides expatriate communities with access to innovative communications services that allows them to stay in touch with their contacts.

about Orange

Orange (http://www.orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2013 and 159,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2014, including 99,800 employees in France. Present in 30 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 240 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2014, including 182 million mobile customers and 16 million fixed broadband customers. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services.

Orange is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

For more information on the internet and on your mobile: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com, www.livetv.orange.com or to follow us on Twitter: @orangegrouppr.

Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

Nov 132014
 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Philip Hammond sees early signs of impact of UK support to #EndEbola in #SierraLeone, but says battle has just begun

Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, and Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Francois, today met British military, aid workers, diplomats and health workers who are part of the UK effort to fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone. The Foreign Secretary also met President Koroma to underline the UK’s commitment and discuss progress to date and next steps in tackling the crisis.

Mr Hammond visited Port Loko, one of the areas worst hit by Ebola, and where the UK is building one of the additional five 100-bed treatment centres that will help meet the UK’s commitment to provide 700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone. The new facility is due to open in December.

The Foreign Secretary also visited the Ebola Training Academy at the National Stadium where he met Sierra Leonean Ebola workers. With support from British Armed Forces personnel, WHO are training over 800 people each week at the Academy. At the Western Area Command and Control Centre, now located in the British Council, the Foreign Secretary was briefed on the coordination of burial teams, and efforts to ensure that new cases are isolated more quickly.

Mr Francois visited members of 22 Field Hospital, military medics who are staffing the 12-bed facility at the Kerrytown Treatment Centre, which will be used to treat international healthcare workers. He also met Royal Engineers who are designing and supervising construction of all the Ebola treatment units.

The G20 Summit, taking place this weekend in Brisbane, is expected to be the next opportunity for the international community to demonstrate the global commitment to defeating Ebola.

Commenting after his visit Philip Hammond said:

“I have seen for myself how UK support in Sierra Leone is saving lives and making a real difference to the fight against Ebola. But I have also seen the huge challenges that remain to getting this disease under control.

“Following the opening of Kerrytown last week, the facility being built at Port Loko represents the next stage of the UK’s efforts to try and get ahead of the spread of the disease.

“We are beginning to see early signs of impact but despite our and others’ efforts this battle has only just begun. We have a long way to go before we see the real benefits.

“The international community cannot afford to slow the pace. The Prime Minister will be pressing G20 members and other partners in Brisbane to take forward concrete actions to address the immediate crisis as well as support for longer-term economic resilience, and strengthen our resolve to prevent future threats to global health security.”

Minister for Armed Forces, Mark Francois, said:

“I am proud of the vital contribution our Armed Forces are making on the frontline of the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

“Having visited medics from 22 Field Hospital in training in the UK – and having told them I would visit them once they had deployed – I am proud to now see them on operations in Sierra Leone. And I have seen for myself the wider work being done by personnel from all services as the UK leads the global effort to get this outbreak under control and prevent it spreading any further.”

Nov 132014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In the absence of specific treatments for Ebola, international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced today that it will host clinical trials in three Ebola treatment centres in West Africa. The separate trials, which are aimed at quickly finding an effective therapy that can be used against the disease which has so far taken around 5,000 lives in the current outbreak in the region, will be led by three different research partners.

The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) will lead a trial using antiviral drug favipiravir in Guéckédou, Guinea; the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) will lead a trial of convalescent whole blood and plasma therapy at the Donka Ebola centre in Conakry, Guinea; and The University of Oxford will lead, on behalf of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC), a Wellcome Trust-funded trial of the antiviral drug brincidofovir at a site yet to be determined. The World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities of the affected countries are also taking part in this collaborative effort.

“This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment against a disease that today kills between 50 and 80% of those infected,” said Dr Annick Antierens, who coordinates the investigational partnerships for MSF. “As one of the principal providers of medical care to Ebola patients in West Africa, MSF is taking part in these accelerated clinical trials to give people affected by the current outbreak a better chance of survival.”

The trials’ protocols are in the final stages of development and are designed with a simple target of 14-day survival and with broad inclusion criteria. The protocols will ensure that disruption to patient care will be minimal, that internationally-accepted medical and research ethical standards are respected, and that sound scientific data will be produced and shared for public good. The main principles and designs have been shared with the respective countries’ ethical authorities, with the goal of starting the first trials during December 2014. Initial results could be available in February 2015.

The two drugs, brincidofovir and favipiravir, were selected from WHO’s shortlist of potential Ebola treatments after careful review of safety and efficacy profiles, product availability, and ease of administration to patients.

Professor Peter Horby, the Chief Investigator of the ISARIC-led trial, said, “Conducting clinical trials of investigational drugs in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is a new experience for all of us, but we are determined not to fail the people of West Africa. It has been a privilege to witness the extraordinary willingness of all the partners in this initiative to step outside their comfort zones in order to fast track these critically important trials.”

“These three trials are part of the first phase of a research aimed at finding the best treatment to cure patients with Ebola,” said Professor Denis Malvy, who will lead the INSERM trial in Guinea. “The three trial boards will therefore be coordinated in a very reactive way, so that any new fact can be discussed rapidly and our research plans can be adapted accordingly. Strengthening the link between our teams is all the more important as there is the possibility that, should our trials give positive results, the next phase could consist of combining interventions.”

Trial of convalescent whole blood and plasma therapy will consist of administering blood or plasma, containing antibodies from survivors, to infected patients. This approach is also endorsed by WHO.

“Convalescent plasma from recovered patients, containing antibodies against pathogens, has been safely used for other infectious diseases,” said ITM’s Johan van Griensven, coordinating investigator of the trial. “We want to find out whether it works for Ebola, whether it is safe and whether it can be scaled-up to reduce the number of deaths in the current outbreak. Close communication with people who recovered from Ebola, and the community at large, will be vital for a successful trial. We hope that recovered patients donating blood and plasma to help sick people could reduce fear of the disease and reduce stigmatisation of those who survived.”

When other experimental or off-label products with promising efficacy and safety data become available, they will be assessed with the view of proposing further trials in other MSF Ebola management centres in the region.

All three trials will prioritise community engagement and informed consent from patients or their representative. Each patient who consents to be part of a trial will have the potential risks of being subjected to a new therapy clearly explained. “We need to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that these therapies will be the miracle cure,” added MSF’s Dr Antierens. “But we need to do all we can to try the products available today to increase the chances of finding an effective treatment against Ebola.”

While clinical trials are underway, MSF is urging the drugs’ developers to scale up production supply now, to ensure there is no gap between the end of the trials and the large-scale introduction of products found to be safe and effective. MSF is also urging drug manufacturers to ensure that end products are affordable and available in the quantities needed to tackle the outbreak at its epicentre in West Africa. Distribution of end products should be driven by needs, irrespective of where people live or the capacity of a country to pay.