By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Bio Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) has presented African Access Initiative (AAI) as Nigeria stepped up its fight against cancer with the launch of the National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP) 2018-2022.
The BVGH President, Ms. Jennifer Dent described AAI’s work in Nigeria during the NCCP launch event as remarkable.
Dent said AAI and its alliance with the Nigerian government aims to address the rapidly rising burden of cancer in the country.
“AAI is driven by Africa, for Africa, and so it is critical to understand each country’s oncology priorities, capabilities, and gaps. We have completed comprehensive needs assessments of eight Nigerian hospitals to capture information on cancer patient populations; staffing; diagnostic, treatment, and research capacity; and medication access, with eight additional assessments underway. The goal is to design and build sustainable access to cancer treatments,” she said.
Dent added that “future AAI efforts in Nigeria will be guided by the NCCP and the needs assessment findings. We invite pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with strategic interests in oncology and Africa to join us in improving access to their products in Nigeria and other AAI countries through sustainable business and pricing agreements and participation in our African Consortium for Cancer Clinical Trials (AC3T) program.”
In the same vein, the Minister of Health and oncologist, Prof. Isaac Adewole, while introducing the NCCP, highlighted AAI’s activities in Nigeria.
Adewole said the Ministry of Health is deeply committed to the provision of high quality healthcare for all Nigerians.
He said: “When it comes to cancer, we have a great sense of urgency to take action and prevent unnecessary suffering and death. The NCCP outlines key goals, which include improving access to quality, cost effective and equitable diagnostic and treatment services and ensuring access and availability of drugs for cancer patients.
“BVGH is playing an important role in these efforts through its unique approach with AAI and its work with key hospitals in Nigeria to coordinate the delivery of essential drugs, technologies, and training.”
AAI—led by BVGH in partnership with the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC); the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)/Access Accelerated; Pfizer, Inc.; and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.—focuses on expanding access to cancer medicines and technologies, improving healthcare infrastructure, and building clinical and research capacity in Africa, where cancer now claims more lives than malaria.
In its first phase, AAI is working with the governments of Nigeria and four other African countries (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Rwanda) that have made cancer control a national priority.