A large part of the success of our partnership with Takeda has been a result of their own culture: as a Japanese business, Takeda is meticulous, respectful and fundamentally committed to doing good, not just to doing well. We knew that increasing awareness and building capacity would be key, but we also knew we could not do it alone. From the very beginning, Takeda dedicated a substantial amount of time and resources to studying the healthcare landscape in Africa and made sure to involve all the relevant stakeholders to agree on the full spectrum of challenges before creating an approach for how to address them.
Takeda’s Blueprint for Success initiative has been key to mobilizing collaborative action that addresses the challenges of non-communicable diseases. In 2017, the first Blueprint for Success Summit was convened, bringing together over 300 experts from around the world, to create partnership opportunities and enable tangible action plans to improve access to medicines. Since then, we have continued to work together to establish Nairobi, Kenya as a Center of Excellence for oncology in the region.
The roadmap we built together was centered on the patient journey and the inherent challenges faced by patients in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among these, cancer care in particular stood out to us. There is deep lack of knowledge about the disease across the continent – in fact, there is no word for it in most African languages – and yet it is among the biggest killers. Cancer is the third highest cause of death in Kenya.