World Health Day 2018: ‘Get out of your comfort zone and help’

The work being done by Teva’s Medical Affairs team is of vital importance, says its VP, Marco Avila

Echoing the aims of World Health Day 2018, Marco Avila, VP, Head of EU Medical Affairs, believes it is imperative to make “medicines available to as many people as possible.”

World Health Day 2018: ‘Get out of your comfort zone and help’


He thrives on knowing that he has “the possibility to impact hundreds, thousands and millions of people through our medicines.” And for him it’s the team that counts: “I do that not because of me, but because of the people who work with me. That is the main source of my satisfaction, working with my people to make a bigger contribution than any one individual.”

The Medical Affairs EU head, who has been in the position for around 18 months, brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to the role. He trained as a physician at the Universidad Autónoma de Centro América, with a postgraduate degree in Public Health. He also studied at business school in the United States and worked in Latin America, the United States, Asia and Europe.

Utilising both his business and scientific acumen, Marco considers himself “an enterprise leader who tries to advise the organization from a medical perspective. We are making big efforts on conditions like HIV, which I’m very passionate about.”

Looking to the future, Marco is keenly motivated by Teva’s research work. “This excites me a lot. I’m particularly interested in respiratory diseases and neuroscience - I enjoy science as our source of innovation.”

Making a global impact

This summer, Marco will spend two and half weeks of his vacation in Uganda, partnering with an NGO called Africa With Love, working at orphanages, churches and schools. He will provide leadership as well as medical knowledge. “I am passionate about getting out of the comfort zone to learn and to help.”

He feels it is his duty to work towards Teva’s and the World Health Day promise of affordable health for all. “We, as members of the developed community, should have a higher sense of urgency to help.”

Marco will be accompanied by his son, hoping the experience will teach him valuable life lessons. “I want him to know that there are other realities – to make him aware about serving a bigger purpose.”

An attainable goal

Now in its 70th year, #HealthForAll is the theme for World Health Day 2018. "I envision a world in which everyone can live healthy, productive lives, regardless of who they are or where they live,” says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

Despite trailblazing work in the health field, with the discovery of life-saving medicines and treatments, there is still great inequality, with at least half of the world’s population unable to obtain essential health services. Almost 100 million people are living in extreme poverty, surviving on $1.90 or less a day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spearhead the fight to correct this imbalance through a commitment to end global poverty, tackling health inequality targets by 2030.

Teva supports these aims in ways that live up to its brand promise of “providing innovative and high-quality medicines for the patients we serve around the world, enabling people to live better days.”

For example, in Latin America, where affordable healthcare is out of reach for many people, Teva has worked with an international non-profit organization to supply a generic rare immunosuppressant medicine that improves acceptance of organ transplants.

The company is also committed to supplying medicines to international non-profit organizations, particularly to the most vulnerable in society. In recent years, Teva has provided medications in disaster zones, either directly, or in partnership with non-profit humanitarian relief organizations.