The quantification of cancer medicines in Zambia

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Published: 9 Jan 2024
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Dr Susan Citonje Msadabwe - Cancer Diseases Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia

Dr Susan Citonje Msadabwe speaks to ecancer about the quantification of cancer medicines in Zambia. With two new centres opening, and the cancer burden growing, she discusses the changes in quantification methods.

Data collection, validation and outcome dictated the need for $10.7m to adequately provide cancer medicines in Zambia.

Dr Susan further explains how the money will be split between adult and childhood cancers and future plans for funding and annual budgeting.

The quantification of cancer medicines in Zambia

Dr Susan Citonje Msadabwe - Cancer Diseases Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia

Access to innovative cancer drugs: can you talk to us about this topic?

My talk was about an evidence-based approach to quantification for cancer medicines in Zambia. What we did in Zambia is we have usually done consumption-based quantification, however, we are opening two new centres and we do know that the burden of cancer is growing. So what we needed to do is take into account the growth of the cancer burden as well as opening two new sites and quantify cancer medicines for that so that it’s more accurate than a consumption-based quantification.

So the quantification involved, one, data collection. It involved partners from various sectors, including the Ministry of Health, the current cancer diseases hospital partners, the Clinical Health Access Initiative. Then we also used tools from the American Cancer Society that were developed, as well as guidelines from NCCN.

What are the next steps?

During the quantification what we did note, however, was that… So the quantification went through three processes, the first one was what I just mentioned, the data collection. Then there was also validation and then, following that, the outcomes were that we found that we needed about $10.7 million to ensure that we do cater adequately to provide cancer medicines in Zambia.

Of that $10.7 million, 97% of that budget was for adult cancers whereas 3% was for childhood cancers. When we looked at the burden, however, the burden was 6% childhood cancers and the rest adult cancers.

The outcomes, again, this provided a basis for actual annual budgeting for 2022-2026 in the Ministry of Health of Zambia. The government did provide some of that budget to buy cancer medicines, however, as usual it was not adequate. So we did receive close to $4 million for procurement of cancer medicines. In addition, because we did know that there was a deficit and this is the first time that we’ve actually shown that there is a deficit in the budget, we did get additional funding for the years 2024-2027.

In addition, this provided a platform for the Global Access to Childhood Cancer Medicines pilot project which Zambia is the first country in Africa to be done. So at least it provided a stepping stone for us to do that pilot project adequately and more easily than starting from the beginning.