As 2016 draws to a close, we are proud to look back on a purposeful and successful year for the Novartis Foundation. We want to express our sincere gratitude to all our partners for the collective action this past year!
We made tremendous progress in pioneering new approaches to deliver healthcare, specifically for hypertension – the number one global health problem. This year, we launched the Ho Chi Minh City Communities for Healthy Hearts Program in Vietnam and continued to learn from the Community-based Hypertension Improvement Project (ComHIP) with our partners in Ghana. We also started the Hypertension Working Group of the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM), which is tasked with defining standard health outcomes for hypertension in low-income settings.
In digital health, we are chairing the Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health. This group is developing recommendations on the need for digital technology to be institutionalized in national health systems. Only when digital health addresses national health priorities can it truly be an enabler to accelerate the achievement of SDG3. We also convened over 100 global experts, private corporations and governments at our Digital Health Dialogue in Ghana.
On November 29, we co-hosted a third NCD Dialogue with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, focusing on the importance of placing patients and their families at the center of healthcare delivery for chronic diseases. More on the outcomes of this meeting will be available in the coming weeks, but for those who can’t wait, you can watch the webcast here. In February, we are holding another dialogue event, this time on an emerging focus area of the Novartis Foundation: urban health. We will bring together urban planners, urban health professionals, mayors and other policymakers in Cape Town to discuss multidisciplinary approaches to address the enormous challenges to creating and improving urban health in Africa.
Looking ahead to 2017, I believe we are well on the road to finding solutions that will continue to improve the availability and access to quality health services in low- and middle-income countries for years to come. Moving beyond improving access, training or capacity building, we are now exploring truly comprehensive, systemic and multidisciplinary ways to strengthen health systems and improve health. Let’s continue down this path together.
Ann Aerts and the Novartis Foundation team
2016: Year in review
We work hand-in-hand with local and global partners to catalyze scalable and sustainable healthcare models to improve access to quality healthcare and improve health outcomes for people living in low- and middle-income countries.
In Ghana, the Novartis Foundation’s work with local and international partners on a model for telemedicine services was so successful that it is now being expanded. Originally piloted in a remote region of the Amansie-West district of Ashanti, the Ghana Ministry of Health has since scaled the telemedicine model to the entire Amansie-West district and beyond. 2016 saw the telemedicine model implemented in the Eastern and Greater Accra regions, and a roadmap for national scale up in 2017 is in development.
In Vietnam, the Novartis Foundation and its partners launched the Ho Chi Minh City Communities for Healthy Hearts Program, which is designed to improve health outcomes for adults with hypertension in low-income households. The program, carried out in four districts in Ho Chi Minh City, covers a population of over two million people and involves collaborations between public and private health sectors, alongside digital health technology that will empower patients in self-management and increase patient-to-provider contact. [Photo credit Matthew Dakin/PATH]
The Novartis Foundation works with partners around the world to evaluate the feasibility and efficiency of contact tracing and the provision of preventative treatment for leprosy. The leprosy post-exposure prophylaxis (LPEP) program is designed to document and integrate the evidence generated and lessons learned into national leprosy policy to ensure widespread implementation. The program operates in Indonesia, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Tanzania and Sri Lanka, and this year launched in Brazil and Cambodia.
In November, we held our latest dialogue event at our headquarters in Basel,Switzerland. The event, in collaboration with the Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, discussed person-centered approaches to management of non-communicable diseases, particularly hypertension, in low- and middle-income countries.