Tan Sou Chin, who suffers from Hepatitis C, did not have access to the treatment she needed for her life-threatening illness. Like many impoverished families in Cambodia, Sou Chin, 54, and her husband, who recently lost his job as a fisherman, struggled daily to provide for their six children. Thanks to a hepatitis treatment programme supported by AmeriCares and product donations from Merck (known as MSD outside the US), she was able to get the treatment she needed to survive.
“I was hopeless but now I am healthy,” said Sou Chin. “I would like to say thank you to the donor who donated this medicine for saving my life.”
Merck’s most recent donation of critical medicines has provided renewed hope and health to 100 low-income hepatitis patients like Sou Chin. Since February 2008, Merck has supported the treatment programme, providing PegIntron and Rebetol to low-income patients of HOPE worldwide Medical Centers in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
Nearly 10 percent of the population in Cambodia is infected with the Hepatitis C virus, but few have access to treatment. Merck’s donations have allowed physicians to effectively treat the disease for those in need, reducing the risk of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
Dr Tan Kim Meng, the Medical Business Leader of HOPE worldwide Medical Centers and physician overseeing the Hepatitis C programme, emphasized the value of the programme to its patients. “Without donors it would be very difficult, because some patients can pay very little for their treatment,” Dr Kim Meng said. “I am so thankful to Merck and AmeriCares for giving our patients a chance.”