Editorial by Ann Aerts, M.D., Head of the Novartis Foundation, Q2 2018 newsletter
Today, countries around the world are feeling the impact of the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Although NCDs are ubiquitous, low- and middle-income countries are hit hardest, with 75% of the burden occurring in such countries. Also, people are affected at a younger age and experience worse outcomes than in high income countries, creating a new global health crisis.
As most services are geared towards delivering acute care, health systems in low-income settings are often inadequately set up to provide care for chronic patients,. NCD patients not only face barriers to seeking healthcare, they also have difficulties in paying for it, and keeping their condition under control in the long term.
Simply increasing the availability of medicines is not enough. To expand access that delivers better health outcomes for both chronic and acute patients, we have to reimagine the way healthcare is delivered.
The Novartis Foundation is contributing to finding solutions that meet this challenge. We combine programmatic interventions and health outcomes research to generate evidence on what works. We integrate digital technology in all of our work as a key enabler to expand access to quality care and improve outcomes.
Once validated, we take solutions to scale with local authorities and partners and use the findings to inform national and global health policy. This in turn can enable more health systems to deliver better outcomes for the people they serve.
A global health crisis such as heart disease cannot be solved by one organization alone. It requires different sectors to address not only the health issue, but also its underlying risk factors. This is why we work with partners from different disciplines to complement and bundle our expertise, to create a collective impact.
As I reflect on the progress the Novartis Foundation has made, what makes me most excited are the wonderful partnerships we have been able to build and the impact they allow us to make.
From making progress toward leprosy elimination, one of the world’s oldest diseases, to reimagining how hypertension, the number one health burden of the 21st century, is addressed, we would not have been able to achieve our goals without such strong partners.
As we want to continue identifying new ways to address the growing needs of populations and health systems in low-income settings for years to come, I propose we continue our journey together!