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Global Pharmaceutical Company to Subsidize NCD Treatment

Dr. Nathan Mulure, the company’s head of social business for East Africa told journalists at a press conference this afternoon each treatment goes for one dollar and that for the final consumer, treatments should be accessed at a price not higher than 2 dollars.

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Global Pharmaceutical Company Novartis has launched a program, Novartis Access, through which they will be offering 15 medicines for cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, respiratory illnesses and breast cancer at lower prices.

Dr Nathan Mulure, the company’s head of social business for East Africa told journalists at a press conference on Thursday that each treatment goes for one dollar and that for the consumer, treatment should be accessed at a price not higher than 2 dollars.

Under the program, the company has so far sent in 300,000 treatments into the country and drugs worth $3million had been offered in the country since 2018. 

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 As part of the medicines package, Mulure said they are funding activities by the Ministry of Health to train health workers on NCD treatments as research has found some health workers lack skills to detect the various diseases in addition to offering appropriate treatment.  

Dr Gerald Mutungi who heads the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) department at the Ministry of Health said the treatments have come in handy considering the high burden and the fact that the essential medicines list is being updated in preparation for new guidelines to be launched next year.

The list, he said is going to have a number of new treatments for NCDs including those that are offered by Novartis as for him one of the considerations for a drug to be added on the list in addition to efficacy is the affordability of the drug. 

The launch of the programs comes two years after the Ministry of Health signed a memorandum of understanding with the Switzerland based company to deliver these supplies in a bid to intervene into the NCDs crisis which is said to be responsible for 33% of the deaths annually.

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The biggest risk factors for NCDs include tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol whose use according to Ministry of Health statistics is still high where 10% of the people in Uganda chew tobacco or smoke and 26.8% use alcohol.

However, to be able to nip the diseases in the bud, experts encourage physical exercise in addition to screening at least once every year since if the disease like cancer or heart disease are detected early interventions are cheaper and treatment results are often good.

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