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Novartis has announced that is has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon to implement
Novartis has announced that is has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon 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 organizations across the country. Novartis Access provides a portfolio of high-quality medicines targeting four key noncommunicable 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 noncommunicable diseases,” said 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% 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% between 2011 and 2015. Beyond medicines, the collaboration will also reportedly 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,” said 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. Novartis reports that the first treatments have already started reaching patients in Western Cameroon.