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American NGOs join cancer fight in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania

BY Tom Mugisha, tom.mugisha@alleastafrica.com

KAMPALA – Three American organisations have joined the fight against the deadly cancer disease with more resources and training facilities in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Norvitas, the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the American Cancer Society issued a joint statement on Wednesday that they would jointly “devise a common approach” to improve access to cancer treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Each partner brings unique expertise in cancer diagnosis and treatment. This complements the work the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is doing to improve access to affordable, quality-approved oncology medicines in the region,” the statement reads.

American Society for Clinical Pathology will build healthcare capacity for immuno-histochemistry (IHC) analysis in two hospital laboratories in Ethiopia and Tanzania while the American Cancer Society l support training of healthcare professionals in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

“This is to ensure quality processes in the transportation of biopsy samples and in the administration of chemotherapy. Novartis will provide funding to support the technical work,” the statement says

Cancer is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 650,000 people in Africa develop cancer annually, and about 510,000 cancer deaths occur annually due to limited treatment.

More than one third of cancer deaths in Africa are from cancers that are easily preventable and/or treatable, if detected early.

“A medicine is only as good as the system that delivers it,” said Dr. Harald Nusser, Head of Novartis Social Business. “Through our catalytic funding, we target projects that have an impact on healthcare providers and support patients through their journey. We hope this collaboration will provide earlier and more effective diagnosis to cancer patients, improving the likelihood for better health outcomes.”

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