Government, NOVARTIS launch drug to fight sickle cell disease

Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, says the government is taking steps to scale up the screening of newborn babies for sickle cell.

According to him, there will be a deliberate training of some health professionals to administer and monitor the treatment of the disease.

The Vice President said this when government and NOVARTIS, a global medicine manufacturer, launched Hydroxyurea, a new medicine to fight sickle cell disease.

“We will be training our nurses, doctors and pharmacists to carefully administer and monitor this treatment. We have the opportunity to ensure that access to Hydroxyurea and its associated treatment cost is granted through our National Health Insurance scheme to every Ghanaian this medicine is prescribed.”

“Like many of our people, the President and I share great concern about sickle cell disease. We share the concern of the burden that the disease places on their health and lives of those who live with it. We care about the effects it has on their families and on society as a whole”, he added.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of NOVARTIS, Dr Vas Narasimhan, says his outfit is also partnering with Zipline Technologies to make the medicine widely available to many sickle cell patients.

“We are already excited to partner companies like Zipline to make the medicines widely more available especially in rural areas through drone delivery. I believe that one of the ultimate measures of our society is how we treat our youngsters. And the approach to new born screening that has been set up here will make an incredible difference for the estimated 15,000 children born with sickle cell disease born in Ghana each year.”

He reiterated the company’s commitment to making healthcare accessible to all, and this partnership is the first of many envisioned for the African continent.

“Novartis has a long-term commitment to ensuring that our medicines, and healthcare in general, are accessible to as many patients as possible. Our hope is that we’ll continue to reimagine the way this disease is treated, in order to offer better medicines and improved care to sickle cell patients in Africa and around the world. I am proud that Novartis is committed to addressing this challenge.”

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