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AmeriCares Pledges to Improve Health Care Worker Safety in Tanzania

Friday, September 26, 2008 General News J E 4
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Collaboration With BD and Merck & Co., Inc. Highlighted at Clinton Global Initiative



STAMFORD, Conn., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 care 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 americares.org.



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, AmeriCare
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