Sanofi Mental Health Initiatives

Program Ojectives

  • To fight stigmatization
  • To train front-line healthcare professionals
  • To make medicines accessible to the most disadvantaged patients through preferential pricing through partnerships with the various stakeholders involved in mental health (public, private, NGOs, universities)

Sanofi Access to Medicines mental health programs have been set up in the following countries: Benin, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Guatemala, Comoros, Armenia, India, South Africa. Sanofi Access to Medicines mental health programs have been set up in the following countries: Benin, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Guatemala, Comoros, Armenia, India, South Africa. Copyright John Stanmeyer / VII

What are the health needs and challenges?

Some 450 million people in the world are affected by mental disorders (1), which are a leading cause of morbi-mortality in developing countries (2). Four mental illnesses are among the 10 leading causes of disability: major depressive episodes, disorders linked to alcohol, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders (3). 

One in four people worldwide will be affected by a mental disorder at some point in their lives (4). Mental disorders are a shattering experience, not only for the individual but also for his or her family. However in developing countries, the majority of patients receive no treatment (1). Misunderstanding of the symptoms of these disorders, combined with traditional beliefs, contribute to patients being stigmatized. Inadequate human and financial resources limit access to care. The shortage of psychiatrists, specialized nurses, psychologists and social workers, the lack of training of primary healthcare professionals are among the main barriers for patients to get access to care. The availability of essential medicines is particularly low and prices often high.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Since 2008, Sanofi has initiated several programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia, in partnership with local authorities, health professionals, patient associations and NGOs. These programs combine training local health professionals, raising public awareness and fighting patients stigmatization. Affordable medicines are also made available through preferential pricing policies. In the countries where Sanofi implements programs, we design preferential pricing policies, to make our medicines accessible to the most disadvantaged patients, within the framework of relevant laws and procurement procedures.

Initially launched in Morocco and Mauritania in collaboration with local authorities, health professionals, patient organizations and NGOs, our programs have since been implemented in Armenia, Benin, Madagascar and Myanmar through the Fight Against Stigma (FAST) program, an innovative public-private partnership with the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP). Fighting the social stigma associated with mental illness is a key factor in access to healthcare and rehabilitation.

In addition to the FAST program mental health initiatives have also been set up in the following countries: Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Guatemala, Comoros, India, South Africa.

Benin:  357 primary healthcare professionals and community health workers have been trained

Madagascar: 144 primary healthcare workers have been trained and more than 500,000 people reached through awareness activities

Mauritania: 127 healthcare professionals trained in Schizophrenia Morocco: 166 GPs and nurses have been trained Guatemala: In 2015, 82 health professionals were trained, 299 people with mental disorders managed and 1120 community members reached through behavior change communications initiatives. Comoros: 106 healthcare workers (including 90 community health workers) have been trained. 124 people with schizophrenia are being managed.

Armenia: 232 psychiatrists, general practitioners and nurses have been trained and 50,000 people have been reached through awareness initiatives.

India: SCARF has developed a module to improve the rehabilitation of schizophrenia out-patients in India.

South Africa: 15 healthcare professionals were trained, and publications made in the African Journal of Psychiatry and presentations about this initiative at the 2013 WASP Congress.

Myanmar: the agreement with the Myanmar Medical Association and the World Association of Social Psychiatry was signed in November 2016.


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Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) ALAS, Guatemala, AMALI, Morocco, Armenia Ministry of Health, Benin Ministry of Health, Comoros Ministry of Health, Indian Ministry of Health, Local hospitals & health centers & patient groups, Madagascar Ministry of Health, Mauritania Ministry of Health, Moroccan Ministry of Health, Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), World Association for Social Psychiatry

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, NGOs, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Mental and Neurological Disorders, Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Addictive Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Children's Health, Depression, Mental Disorders, Mental Health, Neurological Disorders, Schizophrenia, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, Health professionals, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Men, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 11

Country(ies) Armenia, Benin, Cameroon, Comoros, Guatemala, India, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, South Africa

Start Date 2008

More information Sanofi Access to Medicines

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« This program gives us some essential tools to improve access to care for patients with mental disorders, to overcome the stigma they are faced with and to convince our country’s authorities that there is an urgent need to take action »

Dr Alejandro Paiz, Psychiatrist, President of the Alas Pro Salud Mental Foundation, Sololá, Guatemala.