Novartis Africa Day highlights company's efforts to expand access to healthcare

NovartisNovartis senior executives have gathered in Basel, Switzerland for the first-ever Novartis Africa Day, to review the company's innovative work in Africa, including growing commercial activity, novel approaches to expand access to high-quality, affordable medicines, local talent development and the company's Malaria Initiative.

"Novartis is taking an outcomes approach, looking beyond therapeutic solutions to a focus on new technologies, new commercial models, education and training," says Joseph Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer of Novartis. "As the continent increasingly grapples with the dual healthcare burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, we believe we can make a significant difference in improving lives as the demand for healthcare rises."

Africa faces immense challenges in its efforts to provide adequate healthcare to its people. The continent is home to one-seventh of the world's population, shoulders one-quarter of the global disease burden, but it has only two percent of the world's doctors and less than one percent of global health expenditure[1]. Life expectancy is 15 years less than the global average[2]. Africa is also at a turning point as it begins to be challenged by a dual disease burden - both communicable diseases that have historically plagued the continent, such as malaria, and non-communicable diseases that are on the rise due to lifestyle changes, such as diabetes. Low levels of disease awareness, declining infrastructure and poor distribution channels further compound Africa's problems.

Novartis employs a range of activities on the African continent with the aim of becoming the leading healthcare company in Africa. Programs to be discussed at today's event include Sandoz Health Shops in Zambia, the Novartis Malaria Initiative and SMS for Life. Sandoz Health Shops have the potential to reach more than 2.5 million patients over the next four years. The Novartis Malaria Initiative has provided more than 600 million antimalarial treatments, without profit, to more than 60 malaria-endemic countries. In addition, SMS for Life has reduced wait times and stock-outs for antimalarial medicines from three months to a few days and from 79% to less than 26% in three districts in Tanzania.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2012, the Group achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 133,000 full-time equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.

1. WHO. "Global Health Observatory".
2. WHO. "Global Health Observatory".

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