The Government of Kenya, AstraZeneca and the United Nations call for intensification of efforts in the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)


Today, on the four-year anniversary of the launch of the Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme, the Ministry of Health, AstraZeneca and the United Nations Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) convened a high-level discussion on the need for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to integrate NCD prevention and control more effectively in primary health care in Kenya. NCDs are fast becoming Kenya’s biggest public health concern, accounting for over 50% of hospital inpatient admissions and 40% of hospital deaths.[i]

As part of the Government’s commitment to a 25% reduction in the prevalence of high blood pressure by 2025 as set out by the World Health Organization (WHO),[ii] the Government of Kenya has prioritised policies such as the NCD Strategy (2015-2020) and the Kenya Health Policy to address the rising burden of NCDs. The NCD Strategy highlights the importance of strengthening the capacity of health systems at primary, and secondary levels.[iii] In support of this, the Ministry of Health entered into a partnership with AstraZeneca to launch the HHA programme in 2014, since then HHA has:

  • Conducted over 8.5 million blood pressure screenings[iv]
  • Trained over 5,800 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, community health volunteers and pharmacists to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment services for hypertension4
  • Activated 680 healthcare facilities to provide hypertension services4
  • Identified over 1.5 million people living with high blood pressure4

In commending these achievements, Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said: “Our Healthy Heart Africa programme shows us that by joining forces with the Ministry of Health and our other partners, we can get results that go beyond what any individual stakeholder can achieve. This is the value of public-private partnerships, particularly when dealing with a complex NCD challenge that requires prevention and control interventions at the community level. The outcomes of the HHA programme to date are a strong indicator that we are on track to achieving our target of reaching 10 million people with high blood pressure in Africa by 2025.[v]


Sicily Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, stated: “We realise that universal healthcare coverage requires collaboration between levels of government and engaging with the private sector. As a programme that tackles hypertension by driving hypertension awareness, and providing screening, training and affordable medicines, the Healthy Heart Africa programme is an example of public private partnership and collaboration envisioned in our strategy and policy frameworks. As a government, we shall continue to encourage similar primary healthcare interventions that bring the best of health services to every Kenyan across the country.  We will continue to explore opportunities to expand our partnership with AstraZeneca, including into other therapy areas.”

Recognising that healthcare service delivery is devolved to local levels, AstraZeneca has also entered into a number of separate MoUs with several Counties. These new partnerships provide a platform for shared commitment in supporting the Counties with components ranging from public health education, screening, upskilling healthcare workers and strengthening the supply chain to ensure consistent availability of high-quality treatments.

Ashling Mulvaney, Global Head of Sustainability Strategy & HHA, AstraZeneca said: “We work to ensure that our programmes are sustainable, which means looking at the long term and being a positive, constructive partner in the places where we are working. Improving access to healthcare is one of the ways we do this. By adapting our programmes to meet the needs of local communities, we focus on disease prevention, developing health systems and ensuring that the products we provide are affordable.[vi] The MoUs we have signed today will expand our framework of intervention and enable us to bring healthcare closer to those who need it the most.” 

Dr. Mohammed Kuti, Council of Governors Health Committee Chairperson and Governor, Isiolo County, said: “Almost one quarter of all deaths from NCDs occur in Kenyans below the age of 40 years. Given that about 40% (20 million) of Kenyans are 18‒35 years old, the impact of NCDs on the Kenyan economy could be devastating and pose a serious setback to the attainment of social, health and economic targets – as highlighted by the Kenyan Government’s ‘Big 4’ agenda and our Vision 2030 – if no serious interventions are implemented. We welcome AstraZeneca’s commitment to supporting us to halt and reverse the rising trend of NCDs in Kenya.”

Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals: Dunga Beach

AstraZeneca also announced the Company’s entry into the Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) online platform.  Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya, commented: “During the recently-concluded UN General Assembly, President Kenyatta and other global leaders called for a sense of urgency and strong collaboration in the fight against NCDs. The joint work done by the private sector, with companies such as AstraZeneca, and public authorities is giving us practical lessons that can be replicated and scaled up through facilitation of the SDG Partnership Platform in Kenya to strengthen the momentum towards achieving the SDG 3, whose ambition is to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.”

In a new initiative in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, AstraZeneca is launching a programme that will see the introduction of biogas technology to the Dunga Beach region in Kisumu county.  This will enable the local community to process waste into clean energy. The technology aims to improve respiratory health in the community by reducing exposure to smoke from cooking over wood-burning fires. It will also reduce the time taken by villagers, particularly women and children, to collect firewood for cooking, allowing them to spend time on education or income-generating activities. The project provides households with domestic bio-digesters that provide enough energy to meet the needs of a typical home for a day.

Katarina Ageborg, Executive Vice-President, Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer, AstraZeneca and President, AstraZeneca AB said: “Over 14,000 people are reported to die in Kenya every year due to health conditions traceable to indoor pollution.[vii] Considering that chronic respiratory disease is a main therapy area for AstraZeneca, we felt compelled by that statistic to intervene, hence the Dunga Beach project. We are working with a Kenya-based firm, Biogas International Ltd, to supply 50 domestic digesters.[viii] We aim to create an environment where local people not only live in a clean environment, but where they are not vulnerable to respiratory diseases.”


[i] Ministry of Health. Kenya National Stepwise Survey. Available at: http://www.health.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Executive-summary-6-2.pdf Last accessed October 2018.

[ii] NCD Global Monitoring Framework. Available at: http://www.who.int/nmh/global_monitoring_framework/en/ Last accessed October 2018.

[iii] Ministry of Health. Kenya National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of NCDs. Available at: https://extranet.who.int/nutrition/gina/sites/default/files/KEN-2015-NCDs.pdf Last Accessed October 2018.

[iv] AstraZeneca data on file. Numbers since programme launch in October 2014 up until 31st August 2018.

[v] AstraZeneca. Healthy Heart Africa. Available at:

https://www.astrazeneca.com/sustainability/access-to-healthcare/healthy-heart-africa.html Last accessed October 2018.

[vi] AstraZeneca Data on file: Sustainability Deck

[vii] Daily Nation. Air Pollution Killing Kenyans. Available at: https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Air-pollution-killing-kenyans/1056-3843948-14n1yju/index.html Last accessed October 2018.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of AstraZeneca.

Media contact:
HHA Communications Team
Tel: (+254) (0) 706111777

About the Healthy Heart Africa programme:
Healthy Heart Africa is AstraZeneca’s (www.AstraZeneca.com/HHA) innovative programme that aims to support local health systems by increasing awareness of the symptoms and risks of hypertension and offering education, screening and subsidised treatment.
For more information please visit:  www.AstraZeneca.com/HHA

About AstraZeneca:
AstraZeneca (www.AstraZeneca.com) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit  www.AstraZeneca.com and follow us on Twitter  @AstraZeneca.
Sustainability at AstraZeneca – Making science accessible
At AstraZeneca, our approach to sustainability focuses on sustainable health for people, the planet and the communities in which we operate. Our three sustainability priorities align with the  UN Sustainable Development Goals: Access to Healthcare, Environmental Protection and Ethics and Transparency. These priorities are underpinned by our Sustainability Foundations which ensure we continue our efforts to be a great place to work and maintain strong corporate citizenship.

About the UN Partnerships for SDG’s online platform:
The Partnerships for SDGs (https://SustainableDevelopment.UN.org) online platform is a United Nations’ global registry of voluntary commitments and multi-stakeholder partnerships made in support of sustainable development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Partnerships for SDGs platform also facilitates the sharing of knowledge and expertise among multi-stakeholder SDG-related partnerships and voluntary commitments, and for providing periodic updates on their progress. For more information, please visit https://SustainableDevelopment.UN.org/partnerships/about 
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