Merck Praziquantel Donation Program

Merck has been supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against schistosomiasis in Africa since 2007. The company is donating tablets containing the active ingredient praziquantel to WHO, which is distributing the tablets.

Merck Praziquantel Donation Program

Since 2007, Merck has been supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against schistosomiasis in Africa. Since the start of the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program, over 160 million tablets have been donated. To date, more than 38 million patients in total have been treated, consisting primarily of children. In 2012 alone, Merck provided 27 million tablets to the countries of Ethiopia, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and the Central African Republic. In 2013, around 50 million tablets went to Angola, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Praziquantel is the most effective therapy to date for schistosomiasis infections - often even after just one dose - and it is well tolerated. It is therefore on the WHO list of essential drugs. The Merck Praziquantel Donation Program is conducted in partnership with WHO, each partner contributing its specific expertise. Merck’s role is to supply WHO with the tablets and to cover the logistic costs of transporting the tablets to Africa. WHO steers the distribution of praziquantel, monitoring drug distribution and disclosure.

In addition, Merck is also supporting an awareness program at African schools to explain the causes of schistosomiasis to children and teach them how to prevent the disease. To date, WHO has used the educational material in pilot projects underway in Senegal and Malawi. Merck is also working to improve the previous formulation of the tablets. Pharmaceutical experts are currently developing a fruity coating, which is to make it easier for children to take the tablets. Merck is conducting research on a pediatric formulation of praziquantel for preschool children within the scope of a public-private partnership. So far, praziquantel tablets can only be administered to children over the age of six.


  • Merck

    Goods Supplier, Service Providers
    United States | Staff size: 10,000+

    Merck is an innovative, global healthcare leader that is committed to improving health and well-being around the world. At Merck, they're applying their global reach, financial strength and...

  • World Health Organization (WHO)

    Funding Agencies
    Staff size: 5001-10,000

    WHO (World Health Organisation) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters,...

  • Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

    Tanzania | Staff size: Unknown

    The President of the United Republic of Tanzania issued a Notice on assignment of Ministerial responsibilities (Instrument) vide Government Notice No.494 of 17th December, 2010. In that...

  • Mali Ministry of Health

    Staff size: Unknown
  • Ethiopia Ministry of Health

    Ethiopia | Staff size: Unknown


    To see healthy, productive and prosperous Ethiopians.


    To reduce morbidity, mortality and disability and...

  • Senegal Ministry of Health and Social Action

    Staff size: Unknown
  • Rwanda Ministry of Health

    Rwanda | Staff size: Unknown

    The main goal of the Ministry of Health is to provide and continually improve the health services of the Rwandan population through the provision of preventive, curative and rehabilitative...

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Key Information

LocationSouthern Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, West Africa, Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, The Democratic Republic of, Congo, The Republic of, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Southern Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
  • Start Date 2007