Socially Responsible Company Helps Save Lives in Syria

The war in Syria is destroying people's lives. One of the worst hit industries in the vicious civil war is pharmaceuticals. More than 70% of the factories making medicinal drugs in the country have been forced to close, leading to shortages in low-priced medicines. Hospitals are closing, with 27 government facilities now shut. This is why the bravery of a team of staff from the socially responsible company, Novo Nordisk, in Syria needs to be acknowledged. They have been given the 2012 TakeAction award, which recognises their heroic efforts to ensure the supply of insulin and other Novo Nordisk medicines to this war-torn country. Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care.

This annual Award honours the employee volunteer activity that demonstrates Novo Nordisk's ethos of being a socially responsible company. As the conflict escalated, Novo Nordisk Syria employees improvised new supply routes and replenished stocks directly at clinics and diabetes centres. Temperature monitoring devices were sourced to ensure the safety and quality of insulin and other medicine on long and unpredictable journeys across the volatile province of Dar’aa.

The efforts of the Novo Nordisk team in Syria sounds like the plot from a Hollywood film. Insulin wasn’t available in most of the diabetes clinics and the roads were unsafe, yet this team, with its Syrian distributer, kept on trying to reach Dar’aa for 45 days; finally, they were able to deliver 3,700 vials of human insulin in perfect condition to end users and patients. Lise Kingo, Executive Vice President, Novo Nordisk says, “These self-initiative efforts carried out by colleagues in Syria were extraordinary. It was a demonstration of our staff putting patients first and doing it at personal risk.”

A diverse range of TakeAction activities are being carried out by Novo Nordisk affiliates worldwide. To recognise their efforts, all Novo Nordisk employees are invited to vote on what they think is most deserving of the TakeAction award; the programme provides an opportunity to engage in voluntary activities and a forum for sharing best practices. All the activities are developed and undertaken by Novo Nordisk employees and must support the company's business objectives, including its socially responsible remit of being involved in local communities.

The work delivered by Novo Nordisk’s team in Syria will make a difference, as reports suggest that medicine, food and clean drinking water are in short supply. A large-scale operation led by UNICEF is now under way to secure safe water supplies for more than 10 million people, close to half the population, which will deliver 1,000 tons of chlorine to cities. Reports say that the quality and quantity of water supplies continues to deteriorate in different parts of this country, and in some areas severely, putting the population and children especially at high risk of contracting diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. More than ever now, these people will need life-saving drugs and medical supplies.

Photo Credit: UNICEF

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