The COVID-19 pandemic and the growing burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases across the globe will require governments across the world, including that of Uganda, to ensure access to healthcare is never compromised, considering that it is a critical pillar for resilient health systems.
According to some global medical experts, as the world continues to find a permanent prescription to the pandemic by way of a vaccine which is already underway, governments and stakeholders need to continue exploring new ways of improving access to healthcare and creating more resilient health systems.
“In this effort, public-private partnerships have strengthened their position as one of the solutions to removing barriers and creating affordable and sustainable healthcare solutions,” reads a joint statement issued earlier this week by AstraZeneca, Access to Medicine Index, Healthy Heart Africa, Young Health Programme and Phakamisa
Partnerships with pharmaceutical companies are contributing to access to health products and their availability, especially in middle and low income countries (LMICs), according to the 2021 Access to Medicine Index.
The most recent Access to Medicine Index results recognise the role that 18 out of 20 companies have played in strengthening health systems by working with national or regional health authorities and governments to integrate various programmes into health services in LMICs.
Companies such as AstraZeneca, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Takeda have been especially recognised for having initiatives that meet all Good Practice Standards as set by the Access to Medicine Foundation.
AstraZeneca has for example, received recognition for its multi-country initiatives, the Young Health Programme (YHP) and the Healthy Heart Africa programme (HHA), which were mentioned as a best practice in helping to equip health systems for the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs are steadily increasing in prevalence in the African region, and they are predicted to overtake communicable diseases by the year 2030. Over time, they have grown to become the leading cause of death worldwide and sharpened the focus on the growing need to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
During the ongoing pandemic, NCDs and their risk factors are aggravating the susceptibility to COVID-19 infection and increasing the likelihood of worse outcomes for patients.
In East and West Africa, AstraZeneca’s Healthy Hert Africa programme is addressing hypertension and the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD).