Merck & Co., Inc. HIV/AIDS Programs - Africa
In 2009, with support from The Merck Company Foundation, the Earth Institute at Columbia University launched a community health worker training program to strengthen community health services for over 400,000 people in 10 African countries as part of the Millennium Villages project. The initiative aims to develop a professional cadre of 800 community health workers to fill a critical gap in primary healthcare provision for rural communities throughout Africa. In 2008, Merck began supporting Mothers2Mothers (m2m), an organization that addresses prevention of mother-to-child transmission by employing mothers living with HIV ("Mentor Mothers") as peer educators and professional members of the healthcare team, in public health facilities in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia. By the end of 2008, m2m had almost 500 sites across Africa, employing 1,400 mentors and reaching more than one million people. Since 2006, Merck & Co., Inc. has supported the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in a study of factors influencing participation rates, voluntary counseling and testing services. The research will estimate the economic costs of low uptake on the voluntary counseling and testing services offered by one multinational corporation. Since 2002, Merck has supported the Regional AIDS Initiative of Southern Africa (RAISA), a Voluntary Services Overseas project, to strengthen partners' capacity to develop coordinated programs to respond to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. In 2008, Merck helped RAISA launch the "Glove Campaign" raising awareness of the need for clean gloves to reduce the spread of HIV infection as well as other infections. Since 2005, Merck has supported the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF) in its efforts to improve health of young people living with HIV and AIDS in the Nakasangola District of Northern Uganda. In 2008, Merck provided support to AMREF to scale up the HIV and AIDS intervention in Uganda where HIV prevalence among young women in Kawempe Division is at 24%. Since 2004, Merck has supported UNCHR's Strategic Plan for HIV, AIDS and Refugees, strengthening HIV/AIDS interventions in refugee operations in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2008, UNHCR and the Red Cross scaled up HIV prevention programs, developing an HIV plan for refugees within the established HIV program in Malawi. Merck and DHL announced an agreement in 2004 to team up to expand access to critically needed HIV/AIDS medicines in countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Under this agreement, DHL is currently delivering Merck's HIV and AIDS medicines at cost by air express to designated treatment centers in 35 countries.