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New Treatment Guidelines, Developments In Technology Can Help Sub-Saharan African Countries Address Cancer

Scientific American: Helping Cancer’s Forgotten Victims
Sally Cowal, senior vice president of global cancer control at the American Cancer Society, and Jennifer Ryan Crozier, IBM’s vice president of corporate citizenship and president of the IBM International Foundation

“…[During a meeting that took place in Nairobi last month, for] the first time, cancer treatment guidelines were created specifically for patients in lower-resourced countries in sub-Saharan Africa — the forgotten cancer sufferers. At the same time, technology is now helping poorer countries predict their unique chemotherapy needs and place larger, more discounted medicine orders with pharmaceutical manufacturers. The potential result? An assault on cancer in the developing world in much the same way that malaria and HIV, once thought intractable, were successfully addressed. … Without the reshaping of pharmaceutical markets, the new treatment guidelines are impotent. To that end, IBM worked with the American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to produce ‘ChemoQuant,’ free software to help ministries of health more accurately forecast their chemotherapy needs. … Uganda and Ethiopia’s ministries of health will begin using the software next month, with several other African countries to follow this year. Armed with better data and bigger medicine orders, the Clinton Health Access Initiative hopes to negotiate more affordable medicine deals with trusted pharmaceutical manufacturers…” (5/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.