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Novartis expands efforts to improve access to healthcare in Africa

Filed under: Health & Nutrition,International News |
Novartis Executives meet with Cabinet Secretary for Health in Kenya Mr. James Macharia

Novartis Executives meet with Cabinet Secretary for Health in Kenya Mr. James Macharia

Nairobi, January 20, 2014 –Novartis senior executives met with Honorable James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary for Health in Kenya and with Honorable Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury in Kenya to discuss the company’s growing commercial activity, novel approaches to expand access to high-quality, affordable medicines, and local talent development program in the country.

“As the continent increasingly grapples with the dual healthcare burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases and the demand for healthcare rises, we believe we can help improve lives of patients,” said Rainer Boehm, President of Asia-Pacific, Middle East and African countries at Novartis Pharma. “In Kenya, we plan to continue to increase our presence by scaling-up our product offerings and recruiting talented new associates.”

“Novartis has been actively working with the Kenyan government to meet immediate and anticipated healthcare needs in the country,” said Honorable James Macharia. “Such strong partnerships will help Kenya make even a greater progress in its efforts to improve health.”

Novartis and Kenya have a longstanding relationship. The company has been active in the country for more than 40 years. Today, Novartis runs a range of innovative programs in the areas of oncology, transplantation, malaria, patient access in rural areas and local capacity building in R&D, with the aim of becoming the leading healthcare company in the country.

·   In oncology, Novartis has established a global patient access program, working locally with Nairobi Hospital in order to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Within this program (GIPAP), Novartis fully subsidizes the costs of cancer medication for 450 Kenyan CML patients in need.

·    In order to respond to a largely unmet medical need in the area of renal transplantation, Novartis partners with the Kenyatta National Hospital and expert surgeons in Spain to build a center of excellence for renal transplantation in Kenya as well as across East Africa. Through the Interlife program, the capacity for renal transplant has clearly improved and over 99 patients have undergone a renal transplant. There is now an increased demand for locally performed renal transplant in Kenya.

·         Novartis has contributed to lowering the burden of malaria in Kenya. The country is the second largest recipient of our antimalarial Coartem®. We have delivered over 75 million Coartem® treatments without profit to the public sector in Kenya since 2006. Since 2010, we are also helping to expand access to quality-assured ACTs in the private sector through the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria (AMFm), and since 2012, through our own private-sector access program.

·         To increase access to medicine in rural areas, Novartis has launched Familia Nawiri (Swahili for healthy families), a program focusing on providing essential medicines at affordable prices. In 2013, the program was scaled up to reach 20 locations in 3 counties in the central and western parts of Kenya, covering a population of 1.4 million people.

·         Finally, Novartis also works with the Kenya Research Medical Institute to build capacity for clinical trials, training, R&D in Kenya. Projects include a clinical trial and a Phase 1 workshop, a mathematical modeling program and an annual grant for Kenyan scientists to join research internship programs in Basel and Cambridge designed to train the “Next Generation of Scientists in Africa”.

Africa faces immense challenges in its efforts to provide adequate healthcare to its people. The continent is home to one-seventh of the world’s population, shoulders one-quarter of the global disease burden, but it has only two percent of the world’s doctors and less than one percent of global health expenditure1. Life expectancy is 15 years less than the global average1. Africa is also at a turning point as it begins to be challenged by a dual disease burden – both communicable diseases that have historically plagued the continent, such as malaria, and non-communicable diseases that are on the rise due to lifestyle changes, such as diabetes. Low levels of disease awareness, declining infrastructure and poor distribution channels further compound Africa’s problems.


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