Cambridge UK BigBiotech AstraZeneca has pledged to revolutionise asthma care in Africa.
To that end, it will work with The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and The Ethiopian Thoracic Society as part of their new Africa PUMUA Initiative.
While the immediate focus is on Ethiopia, several other African countries will benefit from the programme.
The transformative venture was designed in consultation and collaboration with government, healthcare societies and respiratory health experts to strengthen local health systems and centres to improve paediatric and adult asthma management across both the public and private sectors.
The Africa PUMUA Initiative will support fundamental changes needed to advance clinical practice aligned to the Non Communicable Disease service decentralisation programme roll-out by the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health.
Globally, more than 339 million people are living with asthma, with an estimated over 40 million people with asthma in Africa. The World Health Organisation cautions that over 80 per cent of asthma-related deaths occur in low-and lower-middle income countries.
AstraZeneca has launched the PUMUA project to highlight its commitment to improving the health outcomes of patients in Africa. By providing support of infrastructure, increasing awareness of the symptoms and risks of asthma, and building the capacity of all role players across the patient journey, the programme looks to address the barriers currently preventing access to care for asthma patients.
As part of a partnership signed with The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and The Ethiopian Thoracic Society, AstraZeneca will provide 150 nebuliser machines to various hospitals within Ethiopia and establish 47 nebulisation stations. The nebulisers will be allocated in consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Thoracic Society.
Barbara Nel, AstraZeneca Country President for African Cluster said: “ We are unwavering in our commitment to improve care for asthma patients across Africa.
“People living with asthma should have the ability to live normal lives and deserve the best care. Through our Africa PUMUA initiative we aim to strengthen local health systems and centres.
“By working together to boost local medical knowledge and expertise and building an infrastructure for asthma patients, through the donation of nebulisation machines, nebulisation stations, spirometers and peak flow meters, we believe we will be able to redefine asthma care in Ethiopia.”
Dr Dereje Duguma, Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, said that more than five million people in Ethiopia are living with asthma and to date there has been no national treatment guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment.
He and colleagues added that cascading the treatment protocol and guidelines throughout the country will provide standardised asthma diagnosis and treatment in Ethiopia.
AstraZeneca says other African countries will similarly benefit from a planned rollout of the initiative. It will launch initially across six countries in Africa, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Senegal, and then expand to other countries.
• Photograph: (Foreground) Dr Dereje Duguma, Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, Barbara Nel, AstraZeneca Country President for African Cluster (South Africa, Sub Saharan and French Speaking Africa) and Dr Tewodros Haile Gebremariam, Ethiopian Thoracic Society President.