By Hellen Nanzia
Patients suffering from breast cancer, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular diseases will soon benefit from low-cost drugs in a program launched by pharmaceutical company Novartis on Thursday.
Novartis and the Kenyan Government partnership will support the healthcare system through measures such as reinforcing drug distribution channels and training healthcare workers to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses.
“Novartis and Kenya have a relationship of more than 40 years, so I am delighted that Kenyan patients will be the first to benefit from Novartis Access,” said Joerg Reinhardt, Chairman of the Board of Novartis.
Kenya is the first country to benefit from a portfolio of 15 affordable medicines.
“The successful implementation of the program in Kenya will be essential to guide the expansion of Novartis Access to other countries in the future,” added Reinhardt.
Novartis is also collaborating with Boston University in the US to measure the impact on health care programs in Kenya and steer ongoing development of Novartis Access.
“Novartis Access complements the advocacy campaign I have been undertaking together with other African First Ladies to expand access to prevention and treatment for people with chronic diseases,” said H.E. Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of the Republic of Kenya.
“I am excited by the proactive steps being taken by our government and Novartis in the fight against cancer and other chronic diseases,” added Mrs. Kenyatta.
According to research, about 28 million people die from chronic diseases in low- and middle-income countries each year, representing 75% of such deaths globally. In Kenya, Non- Communicable Diseases (NCD) account for 27% of deaths, or almost 100,000 people per year.
It is estimated that by 2030, NCDs are expected to contribute to more than 60% of the total national mortality.
Novartis will partner with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the Kenyan Red Cross, the Kenyan Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and other key stakeholders.
The Novartis Access portfolio includes patented and generic Novartis medicines.
The products have been selected based on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines List and are among the most commonly prescribed medicines. Following Kenya, Novartis Access will be launched in Ethiopia and Vietnam.
Novartis plans to roll out Novartis Access to 30 countries in the coming years depending on demand. The company also expects this new approach to be commercially sustainable over the long term, enabling continuous support in those regions.
The Novartis portfolio is being offered to the Kenyan government, non-governmental organizations and other public-sector healthcare providers for USD 1 per treatment, per month.