At Eisai, there are various hhc-driven activities that aim to realize contributions to patients and their families around the world based on our hhc corporate philosophy. Eisai commenced the free provision of its in-house manufactured diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) tablets, a treatment for lymphatic filariasis (LF), to the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2013. Currently, an estimated 120 million people are already affected and more than 1.4 billion people worldwide are at risk of this disease centering on Southeast Asia. To support LF elimination in addition to providing DEC tablets to WHO, as part of the hhc-driven activities, Eisai took Ms. Sania Rifa Zaharadina as an internship student from the medical faculty of national Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Indonesia, a country where LF is endemic. We would like to introduce the internship as follows.
Indonesian Medical Students Starts AIESEC Internship (2015-2016)
To promote LF elimination program to society from medical student's perspective in LF endemic countries, and to facilitate active participation of students into LF elimination program, Eisai conducted the internship in collaboration with AIESEC*1, an NPO supporting student internships around the world. The internship for LF elimination would be a good opportunity for an internship student to learn about disease prevention, especially for communicable diseases which is endemic to local areas and the poor, and to consider how they can better contribute to society.
Ms. Sania is from Palembang in Southern Sumatra, Indonesia. She participated in a 5 day internship program from late September to early October in 2015 in Indonesia, and she joined an internship based at Tokyo HQs while staying in Japan for about 6 weeks from January to February in 2016.
In Indonesia, she participated in a meeting held among DEC project managers*2 to work on LF elimination at Eisai together with other UGM medical students, gained a better understanding of various activities to support LF elimination program conducted mainly in Asian countries, and joined in a workshop to consider solutions to social issues. The students listened to the stories of two LF patients at Bogor factory, and learned about their current situation and issues. They also joined in the BELKAGA (Bulan Eliminasi Kaki Gajah: Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Month) campaign being promoted by the Ministry of Health Indonesia and WHO, and gained a better understanding of mass drug administration (MDA) to eliminate LF using DEC tablets.
In Japan, Ms. Sania visited the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) offices and gained a better understanding of these organizations' activities for neglected tropical diseases focusing on LF. She visited a couple of hospitals in Tokyo and toured state of the art medical facilities, learned about Japanese medicines and Lymphedema treatment from Japanese doctors, learned about infection control measures from a nurse, and developed a better understanding of the healthcare system in Japan. At the same time, she gained basic knowledge of the pharmaceutical business through lectures given by Eisai employees and a tour of research laboratories and factories, and interacted with patients in local communities as well as Japanese students.
Action plan after returning home
Ms. Sania considers LF as one of the neglected tropical diseases, however, she believes it should not be left neglected as its name suggests but should be considered as a top priority. She developed the following action plan to apply her wide range of knowledge and experiences learned and acquired through respective internships in Indonesia and Japan regarding overview of LF elimination support programs conducted by various partners such as WHO, Ministry of Health Indonesia, NPO, JICA etc.
- 1.Develop partnership with CFHC-IPE (Community and Family Health Care Inter-Professional Education), a program which consists of various students who are from 3 different majors in Faculty of Medicine UGM, that is, medicine, nursing and dietitian, and encourage the program by;
- Arranging for experts to give lectures to the CFHC students about Neglected Tropical Disease
- Showing a video about LF to the students
- Sharing her and team's experiences during internship program
- Calling for students to socialize with LF patients and/or cadre who support LF patients as a volunteer
- Distributing pamphlets to each CFHC team's family in order to promote understanding about LF.
- 2.Call for people with a focus on the younger generation to join campaign using “Instagram” which is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service, and to post various photos or short duration video for LF elimination.
After returning to Indonesia, she will put these action plans into practice and work on prevention and raising awareness of LF together with the team members of the UGM students who joined in MDA with practicing “Patient centered medicine” in mind. With high aspirations and specialties, it is expected for them to exercise new thinking as young global leaders, and contribute to promote LF elimination in Indonesia.
Message after the internship at Eisai
Ms. Sania has expressed her feelings after she completed a series of training.
“This 6 weeks internship program to Japan was my first time trip overseas and I came alone. It really excited me but I also couldn't hide my nervous feelings. Joining this internship program meant that I had to sacrifice my academic activities at university for 2 weeks. Actually, it was a hard decision for me because I needed to catch up with all academic activities that I missed as soon as I got back to Indonesia. At first, I always asked myself whether this decision would be worth it or not. But after joining this internship program, I was so sure that this decision I made was more than worth my while. It was really priceless. I was always interested in new things, and that's why I really enjoyed my time during this internship program. Here, I learned and absorbed much new knowledge. I want to say that joining this AIESEC Global Internship Program was the best experience during my lifetime. My grateful feeling goes to everyone who gave their time to make presentations and provide great explanations for me to learn. I'm very thankful to Eisai who gave me this wonderful opportunity that will last a lifetime.”
As part of activities to improve access to medicines in the world, Eisai will contribute to assist the development of human resources who will take a role in WHO LF elimination program and health care issues in developing countries. Through the pursuit of various activities, Eisai will continue to contribute to support improving access to medicines in developing countries and further increasing the benefits provided to patients and their families around the world.
AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) is an international youth-run non-governmental not-for-profit organization which headquarters are in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the network includes over 100,000 members in more than 126 countries and territories. AIESEC supports cross-cultural global internship across the globe toward developing global leaders who play an important role in the future.
About DEC Project Manager*2
DEC Project Manager refers to a responsible person who makes a key role in planning LF elimination activities and implementing related activity plan. The managers are assigned to Eisai employees working in the network companies mainly in LF endemic countries in Asia.