Switzerland’s Roche has announced its 10-year Africa strategy to increase access to diagnostics by a factor of 10 in the next 10 years.
The Swiss pharma giant has also expanded its diagnostics legal presence in Kenya as part of the execution of this bold ambition.
A report by Biomedical Central states that about 19% of the population in Low-to-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) has access to basic diagnostic testing (excluding malaria and HIV testing kits).
By contrast, access to diagnostic testing in high-income countries approximates at 49% in primary care and 68% in hospitals. These statistics highlight major gaps in diagnostics, particularly in primary care facilities.
The 10-year Africa strategy is focused on driving investments and strategic partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem by working directly with African governments and local agencies within healthcare in support of the Universal Health Care (UHC) agenda.
The company said it is expanding its diagnostics business footprint in strategic markets across Africa, most immediately incorporating Kenya.
“Diagnostics form the foundation of a robust public health system, but in countries across Africa; such as Kenya, barriers to accessing these continue to stand in the way. The allocation of healthcare budgets to diagnostics is disproportionately lower than the allocation to treatment interventions. Unfortunately, this results in overall higher costs to the health system.” said Dr Allan Pamba, Executive Vice President, Roche Diagnostics Africa.
“As we execute our 10-year diagnostics strategy for Africa, Kenya is a critical market for us. We aim to create an environment built on strong partnerships that will accelerate the country’s health agenda towards increased access to reliable diagnostics,” he added.
Success in this vision means more people will take control of their health, more healthcare providers will feel confident in making decisions for their patients, and more countries will manage the growing burden of non-communicable and communicable diseases cost-effectively.
Bernard Colombo, President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America at Roche Diagnostics International, said, “The launch of our 10-year diagnostics strategy for Africa and growth in Kenya marks a great milestone and signals our long-term commitment to Africa, this is a vital step in our journey to delivering quality diagnostics to every African.”
These investments in Africa will build on the success of Roche’s existing programs including the Global Access Program through which Roche already delivers 60% of all HIV viral load testing across sub-Saharan Africa.