Glaxosmithkline (GSK) says Malawi is an important part of its strategy as the global pharmaceuticals company seeks to become a leading and relevant healthcare provider in Africa.
“Malawi is very relevant to our work and very much part of our growth strategy. Apart from supplying vaccines and medicines in the country, we also have collaborated on successful projects with institutions such as Save the Children and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital,” said Dr Allan Pamba, Vice President for GSK’s East African Cluster and African Government Affairs.
Pamba was speaking from London during a conference call with Malawi journalists to discuss GSK’s first call for research proposals into Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
He said GSK’s five-year growth strategy unveiled in March this year will increase the company’s engagement with healthcare stakeholders on the continent through research and other relevant linkages.
The GSK Vice President said as an important part of GSK’s strategy, Malawi is one of the eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa earmarked to tap from a fund £4m (K3.2 billion) that GSK has made available for scientists and doctors to research into non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
“We’re quite excited with what could potentially come back as proposals. What we want is for Malawi and other countries to be better prepared to deal with NCDs than they were when HIV/Aids struck some 15 years ago,” he said.
Pamba said the first call for proposals made on November 14, 2014, could help answer some difficult questions on the prevalence of NCDs in Sub-Saharan Africa and provide an opportunity for the region’s scientists to provide relevant and home-grown solutions.
“For example why do some cancers present themselves earlier in African settings and not in the other populations? Why do some patients with hypertension not respond to certain medications? Those are some of the questions that we hope can be picked up by African scientists to advance the scientific knowledge of these diseases, in African contexts so that solutions are African-driven and become relevant in our environment,” he said.
Interested researchers are request to submit their proposals through www.gsk.com/africa-ncd-openlab
GSK has offices in Blantyre, where the Malawi operations are ran by Patrick Tsonga.
Last year, the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital emerged one of the winners of the US$1 million Healthcare Innovation Award which GSK sponsored through a partnership with Save the Children.