Takeda Pharmaceuticals, USA, Access to Medicines (AtM) Employee Fellowship Program

(2016 – 2019)

Globally, approximately two billion people living in underdeveloped areas of the world have no access to healthcare or life-saving medicines, mainly due to poverty.  

In 2016, AIHA and Children’s Place International (CPI) partnered with Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA to increase access to health services in Africa and the Caribbean through an innovative NGO-private sector partnership model. 

Takeda, taking a holistic approach to Access to Medicines (AtM) through its corporate citizenship activities and programs, provided innovative medicines that made a meaningful difference in patient’s lives. 

 With support from AIHA and CPI, Takeda’s research and development (R&D) teams worked with local nongovernmental organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Haiti to identify and address barriers for patients to access critical services, medicines, and vaccines. 

“While employee fellowship programs are not new to the pharmaceutical industry, Takeda is taking an innovative approach by creating integrated project teams that include both NGO partner staff and Takeda team members to ensure value, delivery, and sustainability.”

 — Chris Reddick, MD, Vice President of Medical Professional Affairs and R&D AtM lead at Takeda

 AIHA and CPI channeled resources from companies like Takeda for greater impact on addressing urgent health needs in developing nations. The two US-based nonprofits identified and partnered with local, in-country NGOs.

Takeda was then able to leverage the company’s R&D experts – including senior managers – who contributed virtually, as well as at clinical sites in-country. The project team model provided greater resourcing on a sustained basis to NGO partners, well beyond the industry’s typical pairing of a single employee to an individual NGO on a short-term basis.

Takeda’s Employee Fellowship volunteer teams brought much-needed skills and expertise in clinical care, epidemiology, education and training, pharmacy, R&D project management and supply chain management to the project teams. Co-led by NGO partners, these teams work to address gaps in healthcare capacity in the target countries.

“The time we spent in Kenya and Tanzania evaluating the medical infrastructure, resources, and access to care for patients with malignant disease gave new meaning to the term unmet medical needs.”

 — Jessica Sachs, MD, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist who was part of the original Takeda Fellows team

Launched with Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) in Eldoret, Kenya, and the Foundation for Cancer Care Tanzania (FCCT) in Arusha, Tanzania, the fellows team focused on healthcare capacity-building efforts related to clinical care, education, training and research in cancer treatment.

In 2017, the fellowship program expanded to Haiti, where team members from Takeda worked with Partners in Health and Zanmi Lasante to develop a community-based mental health model to reduce barriers to access critical services.

AIHA and CPI brought a combined 50 years of experience developing sustainable partnerships between U.S. organizations and frontline NGOs to increase healthcare system capacity for patients in low-income countries. AIHA’s Kenya and Tanzania country teams, and CPI’s Haiti team, provided critical logistical support and technical assistance to enhance impact of Takeda’s AtM Employee Fellowship Program.

“The Takeda, AIHA, and CPI program represents a new and exciting type of partnership that will help to improve access to cancer care for patients living in sub-Saharan Africa. This is how we hope other companies will partner with us in the future.”

 — Chite Asirwa, MD, Medical Director of AMPATH’s oncology and hematology program in Kenya