In 2018, the Else Kröner Fresenius Preis für Medizinische Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (Else Kröner Fresenius Award for Development Co-operation in Medicine) is being presented to the project:
“Improvement of medical training and patient care in the case of non-communicable diseases: 10 years of assured access to diagnosis and therapy for hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and/or obesity in slum residents of Buenos Aires” headed by Project Manager Dr Carina Vetye-Maler, Apotheker ohne Grenzen Deutschland e. V. (“Pharmacists without Borders Germany”)
The Award acknowledges projects that serve towards improving healthcare in developing countries. The award is endowed with 100,000 euros. This year it honours projects pertaining to the topic of non-communicable diseases. Numbered among the group of non-communicable diseases are illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses and mental disorders. Each year up to 30 million people in developing countries die due to these kinds of illnesses. Since 2015 they have been regarded as the most frequent cause of death worldwide.
Medicine for the Poor: Project Description
Each year around 31 per cent of the fatalities in Argentina are to be attributed to cardiovascular diseases. The prevalence of elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, blood fat levels and obesity – along with the increasing cardiovascular risk associated with them – in the case of people with little school education is approximately twice as high in comparison to graduates from institutions of higher education.
Since 2008 the association Apotheker ohne Grenzen Deutschland e.V. (“Pharmacists without Borders Germany”, abbreviated here to “AoG”) has co-operated with the Municipal Health Centre No. 16 in Villa Zagala, a slum area in Buenos Aires. Of primary importance is the lack of standard medicinal products in the slum, yet this equally applies to advisory counselling services rendered by professional staff. The residents of the slum mostly have jobs in the informal sector without any health insurance: one reason why there are no “family doctors” there. The health centre is consequently the first and key place to turn to for the sick and ill. Dr Carina Vetye, a German-Argentinian pharmacist and “AoG” project manager, established the “AoG” pharmacy in the slum, which she runs together with six women on staff working on a voluntary basis in order to supply residents who have become ill with the vital medications they need to survive: medicinal products that the city is unable to provide.
The project ensures medical/pharmaceutical care on a long-term basis – at least 10 years – for slum residents with chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and obesity in order to lower the number of fatalities and consequential conditions due to cardiovascular diseases. Diverse prevention programmes are offered as supportive measures. Several physicians, two nurses and a midwife work there for very little money, most of them only half a day. That’s why additional medical personnel at the health centre is also being financed by “AoG”.
Dr Vetye needs over 300,000 tablets a year just for her diabetes programme, which has been running since 2008 and provides treatment and supervision for roughly 130 diabetics, almost exclusively people suffering from Type 2. She estimates the rate of diabetes among slum residents at around 10 per cent: at least 2,000 people, albeit the health centre has neither available staff nor available financial resources to care for them.
With the help of the award, additionally needed medical staff and medicinal products that have been lacking shall be co-funded until 2021.
Award ceremony on 22 November 2018 at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (“BMZ”)
The award ceremony took place on 22 November 2018 at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (“BMZ”) in Berlin with a speech of Dr Gerd Müller about the „Challenges of Development Cooperation“ and a speech of Katie Dain, CEO NCD Alliance, about „Non-Communicable Diseases – A Global Health and Development Tsunami“.