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AmeriCares Pledges to Improve Health Care Worker Safety in Tanzania

  • September 25, 2008

Collaboration with BD and Merck & Co., Inc. Highlighted at Clinton Global Initiative

STAMFORD, CT – AmeriCares announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) its commitment to promote the health and safety of health care workers in Tanzania. In collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), AmeriCares will launch a $3.6 million, three-year program to establish The Center of Excellence in Health Care Worker Safety designed to train nearly 2,000 health care workers and medical students serving over 200,000 patients a year at the Bugando Medical Center in Tanzania.

The goal is to help health care workers protect themselves while they care for patients. Health workers in developing countries experience an average of four needle sticks per year, placing them at risk of contracting life-threatening diseases.

“Health care in resource constrained countries is hard work; it should not be dangerous as well,” said Curt Welling, president and CEO of AmeriCares. ”AmeriCares is proud to launch this program that will yield sustainable benefits for hundreds of thousands of patients, the hospital and individual health c are workers for years to come.”

The Center of Excellence in Health Care Worker Safety will be established at the Bugando Medical Centre, a referral and teaching hospital with 900 beds that serves almost one-third of Tanzania’s total population. The program will provide a range of services including training in safe medical practices, immunization and post-exposure treatments for hepatitis B and tetanus, and a systems upgrade for hazardous waste removal.

“This commitment builds on BD’s long-standing relationship with AmeriCares and Merck & Co., Inc.,” said Renuka Gadde, Director of Global Health at BD. “Together we will create a Center for Excellence that addresses the critical resource gaps in health care worker protection in Tanzania and helps to ensure the best care possible for patients.”

“Creating a team of fully trained health care workers is one of the essential elements that will enable developing countries to address their most pressing health care needs,” said Margaret G. McGlynn, president of Merck Vaccines and Infectious Diseases. “Merck is proud to support this important initiative to help keep health workers safe and build the capacity of health care facilities in Tanzania.”

AmeriCares, BD and Merck are working in partnership with The University of Virginia’s International Healthcare Worker Safety Center (IHWSC) and Health Care Without Harm.

This commitment was highlighted at CGI on Thursday as an innovative and comprehensive program to address health care work force issues in developing countries. To learn about AmeriCares and to find out more about their commitment in Tanzania, visit

About the Clinton Global Initiative:
Established in 2005 as a project of the non-partisan William J. Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 Commitments to Action valued at upwards of $30 billion to improve more than 200 million lives in over 150 countries around the world. Through past Annual Meetings, CGI has brought together more than 80 current and former heads of state, hundreds of top CEOs and non-profit leaders, major philanthropists, and 10 of the last 16 Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

About AmeriCares:
AmeriCares is a private, nonprofit international disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, which delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in crisis around the world. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $7.5 billion in humanitarian aid to 137 countries. For more information, please visit

About BD:
BD is a global medical technology company that is focused on improving drug therapy, enhancing the diagnosis of infectious diseases and advancing drug discovery. Among the world’s leading manufacturers of injection and safety engineered devices, BD will contribute medical supplies to the program to provide health workers with the opportunity to put precautionary techniques into practice. BD’s director of global health, Dr. Renuka Gadde, and specialist staff will contribute to the baseline assessment and technical training on the use of particular devices.

About Merck:
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit

Merck’s commitment to increasing access to vaccines will extend to this program through the donation of enough hepatitis B vaccine to vaccinate all eligible health workers at the hospital.

About The University of Virginia:
The University of Virginia’s International Healthcare Worker Safety Center (IHWSC) has been dedicated to the prevention of occupational transmission of blood borne pathogens since its founding in 1994. As an implementing partner for the program, IHWSC expert staff, under the guidance of director Dr. Janine Jagger, will assist with the baseline assessment, introduce the EPINet system to BMC, and develop the training curriculum and lead train-the-trainer sessions.

About Health Care Without Harm:
Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of nearly 500 organizations in 52 countries working to transform the health care sector so it is not a source of harm to patients, health care workers, communities or the environment. As an implementing partner, HCWH science and policy coordinator, Dr. Ruth Stringer, will work with AGENDA, a Tanzanian non-governmental organization, to conduct a waste management audit, introduce waste segregation and containment practices, provide training, and recommend appropriate technologies for system upgrades.