Access Accelerated: Bayer Kicks Off Project in Ghana
As part of the Access Accelerated Initiative, Bayer, together with the Medical School of the University of Hamburg in Germany, has established a “Center of Excellence” for the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi (KATH), Ghana. The project aims to train healthcare professionals and strengthen the infrastructure of the public health sector in the country.
NCDs declared a global health crisis
The global impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes is steadily growing and responsible for 70% of deaths worldwide1. Almost three quarters of deaths from NCDs occur in low or middle income countries. Unsurprisingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this growing global health crisis a major challenge for sustainable development and aims to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one third in 2030.2
In an effort to support the WHO and achieve this goal, 22 global pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer, founded an initiative at the beginning of 2017 called “Access Accelerated. Moving NCD Care Forward”. This is a global initiative aimed at improving access, prevention and care for patients with NCDs in low-income and lower-middle income countries through three main pillars:
- Individual company-sponsored programs3
- Partnership with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) on their C/Can2025 challenge to increase access to cancer treatment worldwide and reduce mortality rates by the year 2025
- Partnering with the World Bank to develop health care systems in five countries: Kenya, Vietnam, El Salvador, Ghana and Colombia.
Enhancing awareness and strengthening capacity for treatment
Drawing on its strong heritage in cardiovascular diseases, Bayer wants to enhance awareness and improve infrastructure in order to tackle such diseases in West Africa. Cardiovascular diseases play a big part in overall mortality in West Africa and diagnostic examinations of patients and treatment options are often insufficient. The current situation is aggravated by a substantial lack of high-quality data to objectify burden and risk factors for CVDs.
Bayer has set up a pilot project in Ghana which plans to enhance the management of cardiovascular diseases. Ghana has a population of over 25 million, and cardiovascular diseases make up 18% of mortality in the country; the probability of dying prematurely from one of the four main NCDs is 20%4.
The project will consist of trainings and workshops to enable local medical personnel to identify, diagnose, and treat patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The program will introduce and establish standardized diagnostic and therapeutic methods for patients suspected of having DVT. Any knowledge gathered during this initial phase of the project will be shared with two peripheral hospitals in order to share experience and extend the measures to train further medical professionals.
While infectious diseases like AIDS, Ebola and Zika have dominated global health interventions, conversations and investments in the past, NCDs have emerged as another public health crisis. The burden of non-communicable diseases is particularly prevalent in low and lower-middle income countries, which have under-resourced health care systems with multiple barriers that limit access to diagnosis, treatment and care.
1 World Health Organization, NCD mortality and morbidity: http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/mortality_morbidity/en/ Last accessed July 2018
2 World Health Organization, NCD and the Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.who.int/global-coordination-mechanism/ncd-themes/sustainable-development-goals/en/ Last accessed July 2018
3 Access Observatory: https://www.accessobservatory.org/
4 World Health Organisation, Ghana: http://www.who.int/nmh/countries/gha_en.pdf Last accessed July 2018