Merck Congratulates Guatemala as Fourth Country in Latin America to Achieve WHO Verification of Elimination of River Blindness
OREANDA-NEWS. September 30, 2016. Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, commends the government of Guatemala on being the fourth country in Latin America to receive World Health Organization (WHO) verification of the elimination of river blindness (onchocerciasis). This announcement comes one year after the international coalition, formed by The Carter Center, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO and Merck’s MECTIZAN Donation Program, urged for the final push to eliminate onchocerciasis from the Americas.
The government of Guatemala worked in partnership with the MECTIZAN Donation Program, PAHO, WHO and The Carter Center’s Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA), to eliminate onchocerciasis – one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide – using MECTIZAN® (ivermectin), donated by Merck. With this verification, four of the six countries in the Americas historically at-risk for river blindness have verified elimination of the disease.
“We celebrate this important achievement with the people of Guatemala. River blindness is a debilitating disease that affects individuals and their families, as well as the larger health care system and the economy,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck. “Until river blindness is entirely eliminated around the world, we remain committed to working with our partners in the fight against this preventable disease.”
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About the MECTIZAN Donation Program
In October 1987, Merck announced it would donate the medication MECTIZAN to all who need it for as long as necessary until river blindness is eliminated as a public health problem. The MECTIZAN Donation Program reaches more than 100 million people annually for river blindness. In Latin America, since 1989, more than 11 million treatments of donated MECTIZAN have been delivered by community health workers and non-governmental organizations. Learn more at www.mectizan.org.
For 125 years, Merck has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
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