Syrian employees ensure supply of medicine during conflict
Novo Nordisk’s employee programme, TakeAction, demonstrates a global commitment to living our company values, both on and off the job.
17 January 2013: A Novo Nordisk team in Syria was awarded the 2012 TakeAction award recognising their efforts to ensure the supply of insulin and other Novo Nordisk medicines under the conflict in Syria. The annual TakeAction Award honours the employee volunteer activity that best demonstrates Novo Nordisk's Triple Bottom Line approach - the company's commitment to financial, social, environmental responsibility.
“These self-initiative efforts carried out by our colleagues in Syria were extraordinary. It was a demonstration of Novo Nordisk employees putting patients first and doing it at personal risk,” says Lise Kingo, executive vice president, Novo Nordisk.
45 days of patience and persistence
As the situation escalated, Novo Nordisk Syria employees improvised new supply routes and replenished stocks directly at clinics and diabetes centres. Temperature monitoring devices were also sourced to ensure the safety and quality of insulin and other medicine on long and unpredictable journeys.
The volatile province of Dar’aa presented an even greater challenge.
“Insulin wasn’t available in most of the diabetes clinics and roads were unsafe,” says Eyad Al Safadi, general manager, Novo Nordisk Syria. “Our team, together with our distributer in Syria, kept on trying to reach Dar’aa for 45 days before they were able to deliver 3,700 vials of human insulin in perfect condition to end users and patients in Dar’aa.”
To mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November, the team organised education sessions to inform people about managing diabetes during difficult circumstances, including the distribution of information materials for managing diabetes in an extreme environment translated into Arabic.
“While people were fighting out there, we decided our must win battle was to make our products available,” says Eyad Al Safadi.
About the TakeAction award
Every year, a diverse range of TakeAction activities are carried out by Novo Nordisk affiliates worldwide. To recognise their efforts, all Novo Nordisk employees are invited to vote on what they determine is the TakeAction activity most deserving of the TakeAction award.
The TakeAction programme provides an opportunity to engage in voluntary activities and a forum for sharing best practices. All activities are developed and undertaken by Novo Nordisk employees and must support the company's business objectives as well as cover social and/or environmental objectives in their local communities. TakeAction activities include diabetes awareness campaigns, fundraisings, diabetes youth camps, collections, walk-a-thons, local community activities and much more.
In 2012, more than 72 TakeAction activities were carried out by 2,425 employees at 20 different Novo Nordisk affiliates, production sites and headquarter. The employees volunteered a total of 15,500 hours.
Through these volunteer activities, Novo Nordisk employees supported 198,000 people and raised more than 2,985,000 US dollars for various charitable donations in their local communities.