Employee Ambassador Spotlight: Sven Jansen


I am the Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Patient Engagement in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) and have been with the company for 17 years. Before my current role, I held several other roles within the company. Most notably, for two years I served the Policy & Governmental Affairs lead in Germany and worked closely with the office of Social Business Innovation (SBI) and our Communications colleagues. Another career highlight stems from my experience working with the European Policy team in Brussels and at the global level, where I was responsible for supporting affordability solutions and pricing policies. Before joining Merck, I held a position in the German Parliament as an Advisor and Research Associate to a member of the Committee for Health, where I was responsible for drug and pharmacies policy.

Sven Jansen

In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, watch football and read. I am also an avid concert and theatergoer.

Sven and his family in Lebanon

1. Is there an accomplishment from your time working with Merck for Mothers of which you’re particularly proud?

In 2014, while I was Head of Governmental Affairs and Policy at Merck Germany, we were one of the first companies to help initiate a program called For Migrants from Migrants, or “MiMi” for short. This program aimed to raise awareness and encourage preventative care among migrants who came to Germany unable speak the language or communicate with German health care professionals about their health issues. Through this program, committed and well-integrated migrants were trained on topics related to maternal health, and they would pass on this knowledge to others within their communities. This project sought to bolster health literacy among the migrant community and helped contribute to the reduction of inequities in care. At the time, we did not realize the level of impact this Merck for Mothers supported effort would have, and that it would ultimately become a significant steppingstone in Merck’s progression as one of the top contributors to public and maternal health.  

I reflect on this program as a pivotal moment in my career as I was able to experience a groundbreaking initiative that was truly a first of its kind. A key component of this program’s success was in large part due to the ability of those involved to act fast and respond during a time when there was an uptick in young women coming to Germany in critical need of maternal health care and access to preventative measures such as contraception.  

Following the program’s success in Germany, I was proud to see its impact across the region I’m working in now and that this innovative approach has expanded to other countries, such as Kenya and Nigeria. I am very grateful that Merck is continuing to dedicate its efforts to improvements in maternal health and ensuring women everywhere have the resources needed to access high-quality and equitable health care. 

2. Where do you find inspiration as an employee ambassador and across your work at Merck?

Inspiration comes from my favorite roles as a son, husband and father. Every day, I am surrounded by powerful women who give me the strength to keep going. My hope is that one day my own daughter will give birth in a world that offers safe and respectful care. I understand that I am extremely privileged as a white male and, with this understanding, I am inspired to take action and support others. My passion is to continue helping mothers, wives and daughters all over the world, and especially those in the EEMEA region, attain the proper care they deserve.

Monisha posing with husband, Sandeep and son, Vir.
Sven and his wife, Maria and daughter, Leyla

3. What is your advice to those interested in becoming involved with Merck for Mothers?  

My answer is quite short and simple: sign up to be an employee ambassador today! There is always a need for more colleagues to get involved with Merck for Mothers, so don’t overthink this incredible opportunity. No matter your day-to-day role, we can always find a way to incorporate your specialties and talents into the program, and above all, can make sure we find the right place for your personal passion to shine through. Passion is the driving force of why we do what we do – we need colleagues who want to change the world and the maternal health landscape for the better and are passionate about our mission to create a world where no woman has to die while giving life.

4. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience at Merck?  

When I joined Merck in 2007, the first thing I learned about the company was the Mectizan Donation Program which is known as the longest-running, disease-specific drug donation program of its kind. I remember looking at my boss at the time and asking him “why isn’t anyone talking about this?” So, we immediately started to do some events within Parliament, my former place of employment, and informing people about this important program. For 37 years, Merck has been true to its commitment it made in 1987 – to donate to the Mectizan Program for as long as possible in order to control and ultimately eliminate river blindness globally. The donation of Mectizan and the public-private partnership that resulted influenced other drug donation programs, leading to the development of a new sector of global health to address “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs).

In addition, I am looking forward to traveling to Jordan this summer for a Merck for Mothers supported project in collaboration with the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center, created to develop a patient-centric approach to increase the uptake of women’s health services among pregnant women and new mothers with a focus on family planning, breastfeeding and breast cancer screening.

I’m eager to meet the individuals behind this wonderful effort in person, as these physical connections inspire me to continue this meaningful work.