Roche signs agreement with Ghana to improve breast cancer and hepatitis care

Markus Gemuend, Head of sub-Saharan Africa Roche, signs MoU alongside Honourable Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, Ghana

As part of its ongoing Africa Strategy efforts, Roche recently announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health in Ghana.

This agreement will seek to improve access to care for people with breast cancer and viral hepatitis. The announcement follows other agreements signed in recent months with the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon.

The MoU signed with the Ghana government builds on the existing National Strategy for Cancer Control and National Hepatitis Policy in Ghana which were established in 2014 and 2015 respectively. This is a critical partnership as breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. Over 2,900 cases are diagnosed annually, a rate of approximately 17%. One in eight women with breast cancer will die from the disease.1

In addition, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence rates of viral hepatitis. Nearly four million of Ghana’s population of 28 million people have the disease. While the national rate is more than eight percent, in parts of the country it is as high as 19%.2 As is known, hepatitis is potentially life-threatening.  Lack of awareness and late detection are among the main barriers to getting timely treatment.

Partnering to improve care

As part of the agreement, Roche will partner with the Ministry of Health to conduct various activities such as: disease awareness programmes, screening to promote early detection, establishing two centres of excellence, improving diagnostic facilities at treatment centres, training specialists, developing a national cancer registry to better understand the disease burden and working on establishing national treatment guidelines. In addition, efforts will be made to improve access to breast cancer treatment under the National Health Insurance Scheme.

In the area of viral hepatitis, the new understanding outlines development of national prevalence data, disease awareness programmes, screening, training of healthcare providers in diagnostics, develop national treatment guidelines and help provide better access to innovative treatments.  

Speaking on the occasion, Markus Gemuend, Head sub-Saharan Africa, Roche said, “It is critical that we work together to improve outcomes for people with breast cancer and hepatitis in Ghana who are not getting access to care they need. This comprehensive agreement reflects a multidisciplinary approach to improving care and helping to ensure patients in Ghana get earlier diagnosis and improved treatment that is so desperately needed.”

References

1. WHO, 2012

2. Ghana news agency, 2006

Tags: Access to healthcare, Sustainability, Society, Partnerships, Africa