With its multi-year Capacity Advancement Program, our company wants to strengthen its education and prevention efforts among people living in emerging economies and eveloping countries. The focus is on diseases such as diabetes and cancer, as well as on fertility treatment.
Kibera is a massive slum in southwest Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Zena Ali is sitting on the side of a dusty street in front of a green corrugated-iron hut selling vegetables. She tells her story calmly, ‟It started around three years ago. I felt weak, needed to urinate frequently and had a fever. A doctor gave me some malaria drugs, but my condition did not improve.” Not until she was examined in a hospital in Nairobi did she receive the correct diagnosis: diabetes. Zena Ali is confused. She was born and raised in a slum. And she still lives there today, together with her husband in very modest circumstances. ‟I asked myself how could I have a disease that otherwise only rich people get,” Zena Ali recalls. Diabetes is indeed still generally considered a disease of the wealthy, namely overweight, elderly people living in western industrialized countries. Africa, by contrast, is usually associated with the fight against infectious diseases such as AIDS.
New clinical pictures
But that’s far off the mark, especially since the incidence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and cancer is rapidly growing. Around 12 million people in Africa suffer from diabetes today. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the number of people with diabetes in Africa is expected to double by 2035. The IDF has determined that in Africa, 76% of deaths due to diabetes are in people under the age of 60. Economic progress is the main reason for the spread of the disease. A significantly growing middle class is giving rise to new eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle. Zena Ali also says, ‟I used to eat a lot of junk food and after my diagnosis I had to completely change my diet.” Paradoxically, around 70% of people worldwide classified as poor live in emerging economies, mainly in Africa and Asia. The population has little knowledge of the causes of and therapies for diseases, especially in rural areas.
OUR PLANNED HEADCOUNT DEVELOPMENT
in Africa from now through 2020
We have been providing healthcare services in Africa since 1897. The company currently has around 400 employees across ten African countries and plans to increase this number to around 1,000 by 2020. We want to more than double our sales in Africa to € 500 million by 2020. In November 2015, our company signed an agreement on the local production of the diabetes treatment Glucophage® in Algeria, opened a new office in Nigeria and launched the cell counter Muse® for the detection of HIV. In addition, we support supports a wide range of initiatives within the health field, one of its Corporate Responsibility strategic spheres of activity. An important goal is to eliminate the worm disease schistosomiasis in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Students at Makerere University in Uganda discussing clinical diabetes management.