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Health News of Thursday, 28 May 2015

Source: GNA

GSK supports campaign against childhood asthma

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) a British multinational pharmaceutical company, has launched a three-year project to support Amref Health Africa’s work to manage diabetes and childhood asthma in Kenya through supporting the training of 2,500 health workers.

Non-communicable diseases are estimated to account for half of all hospital admissions in Nairobi, with diabetes alone contributing to more than one quarter of these admissions.

Diabetes is increasingly affecting younger people in Kenya. One in 10 children aged 10-14 in Kenya is reported to be asthmatic, a GSK statement made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, by Mr Samuel Nkansah, Head, Government Affairs, West Africa as well as Emerging Markets in Asia Pacific stated.

Amref Health Africa is rolling out a training programme targeted at health workers, including nurses and nutritionists, who manage diabetes and childhood asthma in healthcare and community facilities.

The project is also focusing on training community health volunteers in early detection and diagnosis as well as basic management of these conditions.

Health promotion and education of communities would be a major focus of the training with frontline workers playing a key role in empowering communities to take charge of their health.

According to the statement, Dr Peter Ngatia, Director of Capacity Building at Amref Health Africa, said: “This proposed training will go a long way toward ensuring that the health workers have the necessary competencies - knowledge, skills and attitudes - needed to fight the growing burden of NCDs.

“They will also play a vital role in empowering communities for lasting health change.”

The GSK statement said in March 2014, it announced a series of investments designed to address pressing health needs and contribute to long-term business growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

It is the company’s intent to partner with governments of African countries to help stimulate more research into chronic diseases; increase capacity by localizing medicines supply and skills; and strengthening healthcare infrastructure.

Based on GSK’s existing experiences in supporting health worker training, the £5.85 million investment is designed to support community health education, capacity building and advocacy, as well as training – to help ensure the programmes have a long-term, sustainable impact.

GSK has created an Open Lab for non-communicable diseases in African for scientists to conduct research to increase understanding of NCDs in Africa.

The statement said two calls for research proposals have also been launched, across eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa.

An independent advisory board of leading scientists and clinicians would provide input to the selection and implementation of NCD research projects within a dynamic open innovation environment.

Progress reviews of possible locations for new factories in Africa with a view to building up to five factories that would support local manufacture of products such as antibiotics have been made.

It also seeks to collaborate with key institutions across Africa and developing countries to support academic training and development of local capabilities in science and related areas.

The initiatives include a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Ghana to support a doctor of pharmacy programme; support for a manufacturing internship in Kenya and a pharmacy undergraduate programme.