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Innovative practice

Diverse stakeholders come together for The Cancer Alliance

Company:

Takeda Pharm. Co., Ltd.

What:

Cross-sector partnership with local stakeholders – represents a new, regionally focused approach to integrate and improve the provision of cancer services.

Region:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Aim:

To increase access to cancer diagnosis and make high-quality medicines more affordable. It plans to expand transport to healthcare facilities, and improve patient knowledge.

Context:

Efforts to improve access to medicine in Africa have focused on communicable diseases including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, leading to a decline in ratios of mortality. In contrast, the threat of cancer is on the rise, with deaths associated with cancer increasing.

In 2017, Takeda established the Cancer Alliance for sub-Saharan Africa. The alliance – a partnership with other pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, NGOs and non-profit organisations – represents a new, regionally focused approach to integrate and improve the provision of cancer services across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It demonstrates best practice by aiming to ensure that it is a local initiative with local ownership. It does this by pooling existing knowledge, capabilities and resources from a diverse group of local stakeholders to focus on access to oncology treatments in SSA.
Efforts to improve access to medicine in Africa have focused on communicable diseases including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, contributing to a decline in ratios of mortality. In contrast, the threat of cancer is on the rise, with deaths associated with cancer increasing.

How does the Cancer Alliance work to improve access to cancer care?
As a single independent, not-for-profit entity, the Cancer Alliance was founded to address barriers to treatment, raise standards of health, prevent the duplication of effort, promote collaboration (both local and international), and eradicate a “silo” mentality. Through these efforts, Takeda and its partners hope to improve the coordination of cancer care throughout sub-Saharan Africa. 

Specifically, the alliance is working to increase access to diagnosis and make high-quality medicines more affordable. It plans to expand transport to healthcare facilities, and improve community and patient knowledge (by providing education about types of cancer, covering topics such as screening, treatment, counselling and nutrition).

It will also work to increase skills among healthcare practitioners, recruit and retain specialised healthcare professionals, collect and disseminate data, and influence public policy and legislation. In particular, it plans to develop Nairobi (Kenya) into a centre of excellence and treatment hub, improving transport links to facilitate treatment across the region.

To provide governance and measure impact, the Cancer Alliance has established reporting deadlines and assessment protocols. It will also monitor progress and impact through partnerships with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), community health worker programmes, and an online platform (in development).


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