Health is a fundamental human right and is a key factor for economic growth. In developing countries, women and children are often the most vulnerable populations with limited access to health.
The Global Health Institute was launched in April 2017 with the mission to develop transformative health solutions to support control and elimination programs related to infectious diseases carrying a major toll on children, and to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Institute will achieve the mission through:
The Global Health Institute engages with the Global Health Community. Closing 2017, members from the Global Health Institute of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, have continued to play an important role at International Conferences on Infectious Diseases and Global Health, fostering awareness on the Institute’s efforts in the fight against schistosomiasis and malaria, and engaging in scientific dialogues with the Global Health Community also on bacterial infections and anti-microbial resistance. The year 2017 closed with presentations at events in Europe and in the US. The lead of the Pediatric Praziquantel (PZQ) Formulation program was invited to present about its progress at the Swiss TPH Winter Symposium in December. The Basel Symposium, organized by the Pediatric PZQ Consortium partner Swiss TPH, welcomed over 160 international experts and scientists who critically reviewed innovations in diagnostics and drugs, and discussed control strategies to potentially stop transmission of parasitic worm infections. As in previous years, the 66th ASTMH Annual Meeting held in Baltimore in November represented a great opportunity to meet with tropical medicine and global health professionals from different sectors. Members from the Global Health Institute also played a role at the closed COR-NTD Annual Meeting. Coordinated by the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Department for International Development, COR-NTD meets formally each year with participation from NTD experts, including researchers, implementers, donors and the World Health Organization, to review the synergies and provide guidance within the operational research arena for NTDs. Baltimore was also the location for a Global Schistosomiasis Alliance meeting where scientific experts continued their exchange in the context of the schistosomiasis elimination agenda. Through presentation, the Institute contributed to the discussion around schistosomiasis morbidity and one of the consequences was presented in more detail which is Female Genital Schistosomiasis. In October, the Institute was represented through presentation and poster at the 10th ECTMIH held in Antwerp (Belgium): Data from the ‘Evaluation of the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationship of praziquantel in the Schistosoma mansoni mouse model’ were presented; for more information, please consult the recent publication in PLOS NTDs. Still in October, leaders of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany shared their expertise to address the most pressing issues on world health at the 9th World Health Summit in Berlin. Being an annual meeting with participation of researchers, physicians, government officials, industry representatives, NGOs and healthcare systems, the WHS represented a great opportunity for contributing to the discussion by presenting innovative ways and operating models to fight NTDs as well as case studies promoting R&D and manufacturing capacities in developing countries. To sum up, in 2017, the Global Health Institute has caught the attention of the global health community at various occasions. By addressing unmet medical needs of vulnerable populations, the Institute plays an important role within the control and elimination agenda for infectious diseases.