New Fellowship to Strengthen Cancer Care in Africa
Merck, a leading science and technology company, recently announced the first Merck Africa Medical Oncology Fellowship Program for Sub-Saharan African countries in partnership with University of Nairobi, Kenya.
The program will be conducted at University of Nairobi and is part of Merck’s efforts to improve access to cancer care and strengthen the healthcare system in emerging markets.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that there will be 16 million new cases of cancer every year by 2020, 70% of which will be in developing countries where governments are least prepared to address the growing cancer burden and where survival rates are often less than half those of more developed countries.
Starting this year, 9 medical doctors from sub-Saharan African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa will have the opportunity to study at the university for two years through the Merck Africa Medical Oncology Fellowship. The programme will be extended to other African countries in the next year.
Moreover, Merck will support another five African doctors to participate in a paediatric and adult medical fellowship program, which will be held annually at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India. This program will start in August this year.
Public Private Partnerships
Professor Isaac Kibwage, principal of Colleges of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, says:
“We believe that the only way to effectively prevent, detect and treat the rising number of cancer cases in Africa is through establishing public private partnerships between health ministries, academia, and industry in implementing successful programmes such as the partnership with Merck. This fellowship programme aims at improving the quality and accessibility of cancer care on the continent.”
Need for More Oncologists
According to Merck research, Kenya only has 13 oncologists, most of them based in Nairobi for a population of 47 million, which means one oncologist per 3,6 million people (in the UK there are around 13 oncologists per 1 million people). In Ethiopia there are only four oncologists, all based in Addis Ababa for a population of around 100 million inhabitants.
“The scarcity of trained healthcare personnel capable of tackling prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer is a bigger challenge in Africa than the lack of financial resources,” says Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer of the healthcare business sector of Merck, who leads the implementation and coordination of activities, designed to have a positive impact on societies in developing countries.
Kelej added, “In Africa, where the number of oncologists is very limited, this starts by building additional medical capacity. Our new programme aims at increasing the number of qualified oncologists across the continent.”
“The scarcity of trained healthcare personnel capable of tackling prevention, early diagnosis and management of cancer is a bigger challenge in Africa than the lack of financial resources. Therefore we firmly believe that initiatives like ours are very helpful for Africa and also in a further step for more developing countries.”
Source: Qaran News
Posted on 31 August, 2016, in Articles, Blog, News & Events and tagged cancer, Medical Oncology Fellowship, Oncology Fellowship, paediatric cancer, Pediatric cancer, south africa, sub-Sahara, University Of Nairobi. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.