Equipping health systems for the fight against non-communicable diseases
AstraZeneca aims to strengthen health systems by collaborating with local partners, raising awareness, providing support, training health workers and offering diagnosis and treatment.
Non-communicable diseases; adolescent patients
Implementing three multi-country initiatives under one approach
To assist adolescent patients, patients with lung diseases and patients with high blood pressure
AstraZeneca runs three multi-country initiatives focusing on non-communicable diseases (NCDs): the Young Health Programme, the Healthy Lung Initiative and Healthy Heart Africa. AstraZeneca demonstrates best practice as all three initiatives meet all Good Practice Standards: they are guided by measurable goals and objectives, have good governance structures, work according to local needs, mitigate conflicts of interest, measure outcomes and aim for integration within local health systems.
AstraZeneca co-designs activities with its local partners and health authorities. It is also partnering with academic institutions to measure the impact of its initiatives and continues to expand its three initiatives across countries and partnerships.
Young Health Programme (YHP)
YHP focuses on educating young people to reduce premature deaths caused by non-communicable diseases (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes), raising awareness specifically around the harmful use of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and exposure to air pollution.
Since 2010, when AstraZeneca founded YHP with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Plan International (Plan), its programmes have reached more than four million young people. The initiative invests in community-based health programmes delivered by more than 30 partner organisations. Each local programme includes youth-led participatory research, conducting community surveys and site visits and engaging key stakeholders and opinion formers. Local partners measure outcomes and make evaluations publicly available.
Having established programmes in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Kenya, YHP has expanded its work to additional countries in scope of the index, including Colombia, Egypt, Mexico, Myanmar and Vietnam. AstraZeneca has committed to funding YHP until 2025 with USD 35m and intends to deliver community-based behaviour change programming in at least 10 low- and middle-income countries. Since launch, the programme has reached over four million young people with health information. In 2020, the initiative also partnered with UNICEF to expand advocacy practices and support programming to reach more than five million young people in the next six years, training 1,000 youth advocates.
All three initiatives are guided by measurable goals, work according to local needs and aim for integration within local health systems.
Healthy Lung Initiative
This initiative targets people with respiratory and lung diseases, with a focus on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It started in 2017 in Asia and now also operates in Mexico. Many patients receive inadequate or incorrect care because of a growing prevalence of respiratory diseases, low public awareness, poorly coordinated systems and a lack of knowledge among clinicians and decision-makers. The Healthy Lung Initiative aims to improve access to treatment and improve its quality.
To that end, it helps to increase awareness and education, enable earlier diagnosis through partnerships, improve treatment through better protocols and connectivity and more comprehensive training and improve management of diseases. The initiative aims to establish standards of care in line with international best practice and to support health system capacity building.
Currently, the Healthy Lung Initiative has 65 active partnerships. It has reportedly enabled more than 800,000 people to receive a diagnosis of respiratory disease and has supported the creation of more than 1,150 respiratory centres. In addition, more than 100,000 patients have received training and education about their treatment. The Healthy Lung Initiative is now conducting research to demonstrate its outcomes, with an agreement to transfer work to local health systems if certain criteria are met.
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Healthy Heart Africa (HHA)
HHA started in Kenya in 2014, with a range of partners (e.g. US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)) testing models across the country’s relatively fragmented healthcare system. The aim was to identify what worked and scale up, both in that country and across the region. Since 2016, HHA expanded its activities to four countries: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda. Aiming to help 10 million people with high blood pressure across Africa by 2025, it hopes to contribute to the WHO target of reducing hypertension by a quarter.
HHA has already screened nearly 15 million people and has identified more than 2.6 million as living with high blood pressure. It has also activated 780 healthcare facilities and trained more than 7,200 healthcare workers to provide hypertension education, screening and treatment services, providing care at the lower levels of healthcare systems. In addition, it is helping to secure supply chains for low-cost, high-quality originator antihypertensive medicines.