The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority says it has expanded its strategic partnership between the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (NSIA-LUTH) Cancer Center and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) towards reducing the cancer prevalence in Nigeria.
BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) is a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington working with private and public sectors to advance research to improve and solve global health issues
Under the arrangement, the NSIA says it hopes to benefit from BVGH’s African Access Initiative (AAI), which would enable both parties to achieve the objective of containing cancer-related mortality in the country.
NSIA said on Tuesday the partnership would build further on the solid foundation of programmes led by BVGH, which are already delivering value to the NSIA-LUTH Center and help to improve treatment of Nigerians of the disease.
"As it stands, cancer is a serious health threat in Nigeria, with 116,000 new cancer cases reported each year and more than 70,000 deaths annually," NSIA said.
"Beyond the devastating effect on the populace, cancer and its treatment result in the loss of economic resources and opportunities for patients, families, employers, and society overall." "NSIA’s healthcare investments focus on cancer with the aim of providing sustainable, high quality, and affordable treatment for Nigerians to reduce medical tourism. The partnership with BVGH is helping to attain these objectives," the NSIA added.
The focus of the partnership, the Authority said, would be on how to establish sustainable access to high quality and affordable cancer medicines and technologies; build clinical and radiation oncology expertise by helping to train and expand the skills of oncologists, and forge international partnerships and catalyze clinical research.
NSIA said it would continue to rely on partnerships with organizations that complement and strengthen its investments in healthcare infrastructure to continually improve treatment technics available at the centre.
The Authority said the decision to embrace BVGH’s support was as a result of its flexibility, responsiveness, determination, dependability, and alignment with NSIA's objectives for its healthcare portfolio and the intended benefit for Nigerians.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NSIA, Uche Orji, said despite the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, NSIA's partnership with BVGH was stronger than ever, while the resolve to improve cancer patient outcomes remains unflinching.
"This partnership will not only improve access to quality cancer treatment for Nigerian Citizens, but also strengthen our economy as medical tourism is made unnecessary for cancer treatment,” Orji said.
The partnership, he said, would result increased cancer drug access as preferred access agreements have been established with international pharmaceutical companies; capacity building and manpower development with the conclusion of the knowledge transfer arrangement.
Also, he said HDR brachytherapy training programme for medical physicists led by experts from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Rayos Contra Cancer (RCC) has been concluded, along with an intensity-modulated radiotherapy training for medical physicists, radiation oncologists, and radiotherapy technicians led by RCC experts.
Again, an advanced cancer pathology training was conducted by experts from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), apart from
cancer clinical trial management led by experts from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard, University of Oxford, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and oncology nursing programme taught by experts from Johns Hopkins University, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.
The Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Chris Bode, said the hospital was excited at the partnership between NSIA-LUTH and BVGH.
Hs said the expectation was that the combined effort and commitment of both institutions to deliver the target outcomes in terms of expected quality and scale of care will value to the Nigerian people.
President and Chief Executive Officer BVGH, Jennifer Dent, said the partnership with the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre was part of the group's broader goal of designing and building sustainable access to cancer treatments.
"Our position remains that advocacy for cancer prevention and domiciliation of quality treatment for patients in Nigeria must be done in parallel and at scale if the longer-term objective of reversing medical tourism and eliminating the scourge of cancer is to be achieved," he said.
He expressed confidence that the model adopted with the NLCC would ngo a long way in improving the survival rate in Nigeria.
“Our partnership with BVGH has quickly and effectively delivered on several NLCC core objectives, including expanding access to prioritized medicines and building capacity across our healthcare team," she added.
Although the challenge of accessing quality cancer care was heightened by the pandemic, CEO NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, Tolulope Adewole, said BVGH’s partnership with NSIA-LUTH was helping realize its goals in containing the disease burden of cancer.
"We look forward to continuing our work with BVGH in 2021 and beyond,” Adewole added.
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