AstraZeneca Launches Africa PUMUA Initiative To Redefine Asthma Care In Africa

By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

AstraZeneca Ethiopia (www.AstraZeneca.com) announced today that it will work with The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and The Ethiopian Thoracic Society, as part of their new Africa PUMUA Initiative, aimed at redefining asthma care in Africa.

The Initiative was designed in consultation and collaboration with government, healthcare societies and respiratory health experts to strengthen local health systems and centres to improve paediatric and adult asthma management across both the public and private sectors. The Africa PUMUA Initiative will support fundamental changes needed to advance clinical practice aligned to the Non Communicable Disease (NCD) service decentralisation programme roll-out by the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health.

Globally, more than 339 million [1] people are living with asthma, with an estimated over 40 million people with asthma in Africa [2] .The World Health Organisation (WHO) cautions that over 80% of asthma-related deaths occur in low-and lower-middle income countries [3].

AstraZeneca has launched the Africa PUMUA Initiative to highlight its commitment to improving the health outcomes of patients in Africa. By providing support of infrastructure, increasing awareness of the symptoms and risks of asthma, and building the capacity of all role players across the patient journey, the Africa PUMUA Initiative looks at addressing the barriers currently preventing access to care for patients with asthma.

As part of the partnership signed today, 27 January 2021, with The Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and The Ethiopian Thoracic Society, AstraZeneca will provide 150 nebuliser machines to various hospitals within Ethiopia, as well as establish 47 nebulisation stations. The nebulisers will be allocated in consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Thoracic Society.

Barbara Nel, AstraZeneca Country President for African Cluster said: “ We are unwavering in our commitment to improve care for asthma patients across Africa. People living with asthma should have the ability to live normal lives and deserve the best care. Through our Africa PUMUA initiative we aim to strengthen local health systems and centres. By working together to boost local medical knowledge and expertise and building an infrastructure for Asthma Patients, through the donation of nebulisation machines, nebulisation stations, spirometers and peak flow meters, we believe we will be able to redefine asthma care in Ethiopia.”

Dr Dereje Duguma , Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, said : Through this important Public-Private Partnerships with the AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical and the Ethiopian Thoracic Society we will bring immense transformation to Asthma care. The partnership also goes in line with the Government of Ethiopia’s National Strategic Action Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases, effective diagnosis and enhanced referral systems. PUMUA will be a great tool in decentralization of these efforts. We hope this will be a good start to collaborating with AstraZeneca and look forward to seeing more endeavours. MOH supports pharmaceutical companies investing in the country as it is one of the key strategic areas in developing industries in the country.”

“It is estimated that more than 5 million people in Ethiopia are living with asthma, and to date there has been no national treatment guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Asthma. The Ethiopian Thoracic Society strongly believes that the implementation of the Africa PUMUA initiative will contribute significantly to the effective diagnosis and management of Asthma. The capacity building activities and the update and alignment of treatment guidelines and protocols for chronic asthma to GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma management) guidelines, will help to improve outcomes for asthma patients in Ethiopia. Cascading the treatment protocol and guidelines throughout the country will enable us provide standardised Asthma diagnosis and treatment in Ethiopia,” said Ethiopian Thoracic Society President, Dr Tewodros Haile Gebremariam

The initiative will launch initially across 6 countries in Africa, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Senegal, and then expand to other countries.

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