The World Health Organisation identifies non-communicable diseases as the number one cause of death worldwide, disproportionately affecting people in low and middle-income countries.
Similarly, the World Economic Forum has predicted that NCDs will cost the worldwide economy more than $47tn in lost productivity and wages by 2030.
Through public and private partnerships, these challenges have started to be addressed to ensure that an equitable and inclusive healthcare system is available in the future to respond to the healthcare needs of all Africans.
AstraZeneca’s Country President for African Cluster (South Africa, sub-Saharan, and French-speaking Africa), Barbara Nel, said, “At AstraZeneca, we recognise that breakthrough science and healthcare doesn’t happen in isolation, it is the result of collaboration and partnership.
“Our commitment to our patients and our responsibility to work closely with partners and stakeholders is integral to our work in Africa to create a sustainable impact and to seek answers to health challenges.”
AstraZeneca has been working with governments, policymakers, and regulatory bodies in Africa for over 27 years to ensure that more patients in Africa have access to high-quality healthcare, from prevention and screening programmes to supporting early intervention, treatment, and disease management.
This year alone has seen AstraZeneca launch and expand a number of health access programmes that span non-communicable diseases in several African countries.
“The first of our new initiatives, Africa PUMUA Initiative (breathe) addresses one of the most common non-communicable diseases – asthma. Through partnership with governments, healthcare professionals, and health societies in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana, the Africa PUMUA Initiative aims to improve paediatric and adult asthma management across the public and private sectors.
“It focuses on local health system strengthening, health worker capacity building, awareness and education activities, and equitable access to AstraZeneca’s respiratory medicines for patients,” stated the pharmaceutical firm in a statement.
In addition, in South Africa, AstraZeneca disclosed that it had partnered the National Department of Health to shape a new national NCD screening programme, donating 10,000 electronic blood pressure machines, which will be used by healthcare workers in under-resourced communities.