Diagnosis of Hematologic Malignancies in LMICs

Kudzai Makomva
Kudzai Makomva
July 20, 2022
Diagnosis of Hematologic Malignancies in LMICs

Our voice-of-the-customer assessment highlighted key health system priorities and user experiences in African countries, providing valuable insights into the diagnosis of hematologic malignancies across both public and private sectors.

Our client, a healthcare technology company, leveraged their expertise in clinical flow cytometry to launch Europe’s first CE-marked reagent combination for leukaemia and lymphoma diagnosis. This easy-to-use flow cytometry diagnostic tool simplifies the workflow and can be placed in smaller laboratories with less advanced infrastructure. It also provides quick results for physicians, which results in faster and more accurate treatment for the patients. This makes the product perfectly adapted to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The Problem

Cancer is a rapidly growing cause of mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and will soon eclipse communicable diseases as one of the leading contributors to disease burden. According to the World Health Organization, cancer cases and deaths are projected to double every year, reaching 1.6 million cases and 1 million deaths annually by 2040. Hematologic malignancies (HM) account for between 10 and 50 % of the overall cancer burden in the region. 

With increasing life expectancy, the expansion of an upper middle class, and substantial changes in diet and lifestyles, there is an increasing burden of cancers and HMs, and yet these remain largely undiagnosed and undetected.  Health systems and health care markets in Africa have been primarily focused on infectious diseases and many countries do not have the skills, or equipment to scale cancer detection and confirmatory diagnosis. 

Delays or lack of an accurate diagnosis limits the ability to select the optimum treatment regimen, leading to poor treatment outcomes and preventable loss of life. 

The Solution

We were commissioned to develop a voice-of-the-customer assessment, to surface the health system priorities and user experiences in African countries and to better understand the diagnosis of hematologic malignancies in both the public and private sectors. 

We provided recommendations on a potential delivery and financing model to inform the client’s strategy on how to introduce and enhance the adoption of their new technology in Africa, whilst enhancing access to a critical technology for improving the chance of cancer survival. 

Our team of experts generated insights on the current role and demand for flow cytometry in the diagnosis of HMs in sub-Saharan Africa.  This involved studying the state of cancer registries and the level of reporting, which showed a large unmet need for accessible cancer diagnostics across the public and private health sectors. 

Our work also involved analyzing the policy and regulatory landscape with respect to cancer diagnostics, current diagnostic practices and patient referral pathways within the health system. We also assessed health financing mechanisms with potential to support cancer diagnosis. 

The Outcome 

We delivered an analysis that will help to catalyze faster market expansion and increase access to more precise, reliable, and affordable diagnosis for cancer patients, improving their chances of survival. This evidence generated will support the company’s ambitions global health impact initiatives by allowing it to develop an informed approach market entry and positioning, thus increasing access to flow cytometry across other LMICs. 

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