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Going the extra mile for epilepsy in Africa

Posted by
Katrien Rennemeier, Corporate Societal Responsibility
On 4 July, nine of our UCB NewMeds team will begin a three-day cycle from our campus in Slough, England, to the UCB NewMeds Science Congress in Brussels, Belgium.

They will cycle 438 kilometres to raise funds for epilepsy projects in Africa, helping to fund the purchase of new electroencephalography (EEG) equipment which will be used to diagnose epilepsy in rural areas.

All going to plan, they will arrive in time for the two-day scientific meeting on 7 July which will feature a talk by Brian Kobilka, winner of a Nobel Prize in chemistry.

So why is UCB going to such lengths to support epilepsy care in Africa? As an established world leader in the field of epilepsy, we believe it is our responsibility to have a positive impact on people living with epilepsy in underprivileged circumstances.

An estimated 60 million people worldwide have epilepsy. Approximately 50 million of these live in Africa, Asia and South America.

UCB currently has Corporate Societal Responsibility (CSR) projects running in five countries: in China we work with Project Hope and with the Red Cross Society of China, in Myanmar and Mozambique we support WHO projects, and in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) we are working in partnership with the Brothers of Charity – an international Belgian-based NGO.

One of our priorities is to educate people about epilepsy. In cultures where the disease is not well known, epilepsy attracts social stigma leading to exclusion. In some cases, people with epilepsy are denied access to education and even excluded from marriage.

Raising awareness is an important part of our work. Providing access to diagnosis and care is also crucial. In parts of Rwanda and the DRC, we are starting from scratch: there is no diagnostic technology, a lack of professional medical expertise, and very limited health services.

This is why the cycle from the UK to Belgium is so important. The team hopes to raise enough money to fund the purchase of EEG equipment  which would make a radical difference to the lives of people living in areas where access to healthcare is extremely challenging.

If you would like to contribute financially to these great efforts, please send us an email at csr@ucb.com to find how you can donate to the UCB CSR Fund.

To learn more about CSR at UCB please visit our website.

We wish the cyclists well on their mission and look forward to welcoming them to Brussels.

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