Johns Hopkins University
High cancer drug prices are keeping even old treatments out of patients’ hands in countries like South Africa, Brazil and India.
For example, US children living with cancer have a ten-year survival rate of 75 percent. About four decades ago, not more than 25 percent of children with the condition were still alive ten years after being diagnosed.
However, these benefits are not being felt by patients in lower and middle income countries (LMICs), like South Africa, due to the exponential increase in the cost of new cancer treatments and limited access to cancer therapies.
South Africa will increasingly move towards nurse-initiated treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the next five years, and a programme in KwaZulu-Natal Province, which has a high HIV/TB burden, is already training nurses to manage MDR-TB patients.
Faced with a chronic shortage of doctors, South Africa moved to nurse-initiated antiretroviral treatment (NiMart) in April 2010. Now, government plans to roll out nurse-initiated MDR-TB treatment, and to make it and NiMart available at all primary healthcare, antenatal, TB and mobile outreach clinics by 2016, according to the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and TB.