Initial efforts to optimize drug procurement through this global initiative have focused on the East African Community. ACCESS has facilitated collaboration between the Hospital for Sick Children, Harvard University, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the World Bank, industry partners, and local childhood cancer treatment units in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. This partnership aims to catalogue current drug availability, forecasting current and future need, and catalyze markets by leveraging philanthropic funds for pooled procurement.
Collaborations to amplify existing work by a number of ACCESS stakeholders is yielding systems-relevant data on drug needs and access in select countries. On the academic front, a partnership between SickKids and Harvard is developing novel tools and analytic approaches to drug forecasting and access dynamics in LMICs. Data collection in partner countries in the Caribbean and West Africa is underway, with expansion to East African Community (EAC) countries in the planning stages. CHAI continues its impactful work to collect institutional procurement data and forecast need as a core facet of its Chemotherapy Access Program.
Under the leadership of Dr. Rogo, the World Bank’s Health in Africa Initiative is partnering with CHAI, the SickKids-Harvard Cancer Medicines Collaborative, and local pediatric oncology leaders to undertake detailed analyses of pediatric cancer drug need and access in the EAC. BVGH likewise continues to collect drug volume and price data as a component of its MOH-partnered institutional assessments in its AAI-involved jurisdictions, to aid in procurement negotiations between local governments and industry.
Investments to establish a proposed Childhood Cancer Drug Fund, with national and regional demonstration projects as proposed in East Africa could prove instrumental in catalyzing access to childhood cancer treatments in LMICs. Stable, earmarked funding for essential childhood cancer medicines would overcome entrenched market failure wrought by the fragmented demand, erratic purchasing, and price volatility that commonly characterizes pediatric markets for cancer drugs.
The transformative potential of such an investment is considerable. By demonstrating that a consistently available, high quality supply of childhood cancer medicines, fit to loco-regional needs, can improve drug access and outcomes for a population of children with cancer, pioneering investments could catalyze sustainable commitments from additional governmental and non-governmental funders, with the potential for expansion to other jurisdictions.
Taken together, these efforts demonstrate exciting progress toward our common goal of improving childhood cancer drug access globally, and speak to the power and promise of tackling this issue collectively towards to goal that all children have access to a cure regardless of where they live.