Corporate Responsibility

Sandoz expands Tuberculosis activities in Africa

March 19, 2014
The Sandoz Tuberculosis (TB) program is increasing its reach in Africa. Sandoz is expanding its Tuberculosis portfolio as well as its Corporate Responsibility initiatives to support positive health outcomes for more patients and ultimately, contribute towards the eradication of the disease.

Sandoz contributes to fighting Tuberculosis in Egypt

In Egypt, TB constitutes the second most important public health problem, after schistosomiasis. Although Egypt has relatively low levels of TB according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 2005: 66% of TB cases occur among the socially and economically productive age groups of 15 to 54 years [1].While many countries have a higher TB incidence rate than Egypt, the disease remains a public health priority.

Sandoz is one of the main suppliers of anti-TB medicines to the WHO. Aside from this partnership with the WHO, Sandoz has a broad portfolio of TB medicines which help country governments and health ministries manage the disease affordably. Sandoz’s TB portfolio in Egypt includes three drugs. From 2014 to 2016, Sandoz will supply the Egyptian Ministry of Health with one life-saving anti-Tuberculosis medicine. In 2014 alone, these medicines are estimated to touch the lives of 400,000 Egyptian patients.

“TB is truly a devastating illness. Perhaps one of the most tragic facts in Egypt is that it commonly affects young people. The average Egyptian patient is reported to be 38 years old; a time when most people are highly-invested in their families and jobs,” said Sandoz Egypt Country Head, Hassan Herrou.

Sandoz plans to further expand access to its high-quality, affordable Tuberculosis portfolio and has ambitious targets set for 2016.

Sandoz TB scooter program in South Africa increases early detection and treatment compliance

A year after Sandoz announced its donation of three scooters to the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape to increase the detection of new TB cases and to encourage patients who are already on TB medication to complete the six months course.

The Department now confirms the scooters have helped increase early detection and increased compliance.

The program is an initiative of Sandoz South Africa and is in line with the South African Government’s five-year (2012- 2016) National Strategic Plan on HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) and TB, and supports the provincial plans to revitalize its primary health care program. Sandoz aims to increase the mobility and reach of health care workers supporting the treatment of TB patients, often in rural areas. The program addresses the serious health concerns of Tuberculosis in the country. South Africa has the second highest estimated TB incidence per capita worldwide [2]. The latest estimates are that there were 8.6 million new TB cases in 2012 and 1.3 million TB deaths [3]. Considering that there is treatment for TB, the number of deaths due to the illness is impermissibly high.

TB can be viewed as one of the major health problems in South Africa and especially in the Eastern Cape as research suggests. Cure rate of 65% remains well below 85% rate recommended by the WHO [4]. At 41%, the Eastern Cape’s cure rate lags even further behind the national average [4].The donated scooters to the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape help health workers address two major challenges in the fight against TB: early detection of the disease and successful patient adherence to TB treatment. In the Nelson Mandela Bay Area, health workers are at the forefront of the fight against TB. By improving their mobility, their impact on patients is also increased, contributing to more positive health outcomes.

The increased contact between health workers and patients also helps to spread correct messages about the disease and disperse myths; another prominent challenge in the region. According to the WHO’s 2013 Global TB Report, an estimated 1.1 million (13%) of the 8.6 million people who developed TB in 2012 were HIV-positive and about 75% of those cases were in the Africa region [3]. Due to the high co-infection of HIV and TB and with the lack of public education, many people avoid or delays going to a clinic under the misconception that a detection of TB inevitably confirms that they are also HIV positive.

The scooter initiative of Sandoz not only provides a workable solution to a problem but it is also a very visible demonstration of the community involvement and private-public partnership to help eradicate TB.

References:

[1] Amina Mostafa Abdel Aal, Noha El-Mashad and Dalia Magdi. Tuberculosis Problem In Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt. 2013. Department of Clinical Pathology, Mansoura Faculty of Medicine, Egypt. SAARC Journal Of Tuberculosis, Lung Diseases & HIV/AIDS.

[2]Catherine F Houlihan, Portia C Mutevedzi, Richard J Lessells, Graham S Cooke, Frank C Tanser and Marie-Louise Newell. The Tuberculosis Challenge in Rural South African HIV Program. 2010. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2010, 10:23 doi:10.1186/1471

[3] World Health Organisation Global Tuberculosis Report 2013

[4] Jane M Cramm, harry JM Finkenflűgel, Valerie Mǿller and Anna P Nieboer. TB Treatment Initiation and adherence in a South African Community Influenced more by Perceptions than by knowledge of Tuberculosis. 2010. BMC Public Health. 2010, 10:72 doi:10

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