By Paul Shalala-

An international drug manufacturing company, Novartis, has pledged to set up centers of excellence for Sickle Cell testing and treatment in each of the 10 provincial centers.

Novartis Sickle Cell Programme Director CHRISTINE NYONATOR says the centers of excellence will have testing and treatment facilities which will be receiving patients from districts.

Speaking when Health Minister SYLVIA MASEBO held bilateral talks with senior officers from the global pharmaceutical company on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Ms. NYONATOR said there is a need for Zambia to scale up its
response to sickle cell disease.

Novartis Sub Sahara Africa Chief Executive Officer RACEY MUCHILWA said the recently signed memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health and her company needs to be expedited so that the rolling out of testing and treatment of sickle cell patients can start.

And Ms. MASEBO has disclosed that the University Teaching Hospital -UTH in Lusaka is treating six thousand sickle cell patients with only one specialized medical personnel.

Ms. MASEBO said there is also a need to train more medical personnel in handling sickle cell.

Ms. MASEBO has urged Novartis to ensure it concludes its preparations to register and supply the drug for Sickle Cell to Zambia at a subsidized price.

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