RocheRoche announced a grant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City, which will be used for the establishment of a program to improve basic cancer care in Ethiopia. The grant funding comes from the Roche African Research Foundation.

In spite of a population of 80 million people, there are a very limited number of oncologists and only one cancer hospital - Tikur Anbessa, in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa, that provides radiation, complex surgery and chemotherapy. Gradually building the capacity for knowledge and awareness of cancer is the first step for tackling the burden of cancer in developing countries, along with other non-communicable diseases, which is expected to increase.

The ultimate goal of the project, which is headed by Dr. Carol Harris, professor of clinical medicine at Einstein, is to increase the capacity for delivering cancer care in Ethiopia by improving patient navigation through the care system, assuring standard protocols and reporting, enhancing public awareness of cancer and developing a pilot site for regional cancer care centers at the Hawassa College of Medicine and Health Sciences. The initiative will also focus on providing a basic cancer care training program for healthcare professionals and surgical training for gynecologists as well as support the annual Ethiopian Oncology National Conference, which represents one of the few possibilities for oncologists within Ethiopia to exchange experiences and knowledge regarding cancer treatment.

The programme will emphasize women's reproductive cancers since they represent the greatest burden of cancer disease in Ethiopia and the patients are young. While the average life expectancy for women in Ethiopia is over 58 years, approximately 44% of patients with breast cancer are under the age of 40.

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.