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Highly Commended

Embracing Carers® Initiative Merck KGaA Entry in Partnership with Nine Leading Carer Organisations

by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
with support from Ketchum

Summary of work

Unpaid carers are foundational to today’s global health and social care systems. According to the International Alliance of Carer Organization (IACO), 259 million people worldwide currently act as unpaid carers, and they individually shoulder enormous responsibilities. But many feel invisible. And most don’t get the recognition or support—economic, health, psychological, or social—that they need.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has always been acutely aware of the critical role carers play in the patient journey. Even at the best of times, unpaid carers suffer tremendous stress. This is why Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in 2017, set up Embracing Carers® in collaboration with nine leading global care organisations.
However, with COVID-19, the coalition saw a dramatic increase on demands and pressures. Clearly, the toll on unpaid carers needed to be recognised and addressed. In 2020, Embracing Carers® set out to quantify, for the first time, the global impact of the pandemic on carers. The resulting Carer Well-Being Index met with extraordinary interest and enthusiasm and resulted in extensive coverage in top-tier media outlets. More importantly, it spurred action in the form of new government-private coalitions and new proposed legislation to close gaps in support from focused measures provided by multiple players.

Judges' comments

The sheer complexity of the Embracing Carers Initiative was really impressive. It demonstrated the importance of carers having the right support during the pandemic, which had not been happening previously. The geographic reach and scale of organisations involved is remarkable. The forming of the coalition to increase awareness of the problem and formulating key common themes could make a significant impact across society.


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Key dates

Entry deadline 26 August 2022
Extended entry deadline 2 September 2022*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 6 October 2022
Company/Team of the Year Interviews 21 October 2022
PMEA Event 23 November 2022