Novartis Access and Cameroon’s government sign memorandum of understanding to fight chronic diseases

Andre-Mama-Fouda-and-Dr-Harold-NusserCameroon has become the sixth country to launch Novartis Access.

Novartis and the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement Novartis Access in Cameroon. The collaboration also includes capacity-building activities with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) on community awareness. Initially, Novartis Access medicines will be made available through CBCHS hospitals and clinics. The objective is to extend the program to other faith-based organisations across the country.

Novartis Access provides a portfolio of high-quality medicines targeting four key non-communicable disease areas (NCDs): cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, and breast cancer. This portfolio covers the world’s most frequently prescribed medicines for chronic diseases.

‘Cameroon is increasingly affected by the burden of non-communicable diseases,’ says André Mama Fouda, Minister of Public Health of the Republic of Cameroon. ‘The government has established prevention and control programs for chronic diseases, and having access to high-quality treatments at low cost is critical to success. This collaboration with Novartis is part of the solution.’

According to the WHO, chronic diseases cause 31 percent of all deaths every year in Cameroon, and a survey by the CBCHS showed consultations for NCDs at some of their health facilities rose by over 40 percent between 2011 and 2015.

‘We are pleased to help Cameroonian patients better manage their chronic conditions,’ says Dr. Harald Nusser, head of Novartis Social Business. ‘We believe new approaches such as Novartis Access that bring governments, the private sector and social sector together are needed to expand access to medicines and healthcare delivery.’

Beyond medicines, the collaboration will also offer activities to strengthen healthcare systems in Cameroon, for example by training healthcare professionals on NCD screening, diagnosis and treatment, quality assurance and by providing community education and awareness.

‘This month, CBCHS and Novartis will kick off a Know Your Numbers campaign to encourage individuals to know their vital health numbers through community awareness and screenings,’ says Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, director of CBCHS. ‘Activities such as this campaign are needed to ensure we combat NCDs effectively, thanks to stronger healthcare systems and high-quality medicines.’

The campaign will take place in seven health districts in five regions, reaching a potential population of 1 million people with education and NCD health checks.

Cameroon becomes the sixth country (after Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Pakistan and Uganda) to launch Novartis Access. First treatments have already started reaching patients in Western Cameroon.

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