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Ministry of Health and Sanitation signs MOU with ROCHE Pharmaceutical to help fight cancer in Sierra Leone

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation on Thursday, July 7, 2022, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ROCHE, a leading Swiss-based pharmaceutical company to fight cancer in Sierra Leone. 

Present at the ceremony was a team from ROCHE headed by Dr. Philip Anderson, Country Manager of ROCHE Ghana, CEO of SAM Jalloh Pharmaceuticals, Salieu Jalloh, and senior staff from the Ministry of Health, which included Dr. Alie Wurie, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Public Health, Dr. Musthspha Kabba, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Clinical, Matron Mary Fullah, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer and a host of other senior staff at the ministry of health. 

The essential MOU is geared toward giving ROCHE the privilege to implement projects that will contribute immensely towards fighting cancer in Sierra Leone, considering the complexity and adverse effect of the disease in the country. 

“ROCHE has over 125 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry leading in oncology, focusing on innovative drug technology as well as diagnostic. They will be well integrated into the technical group of cancer through National Non-communicable Disease Directorate so that they will participate and work with us to implement as well as develop strategies to fight cancer,” Dr. Kabba, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Clinical stated. He further said that the ministry is committed to supporting all project phases.

One of the senior leads for the ROCHE project in Sierra Leone, Salieu Jalloh, CEO of SAM Jalloh Pharmaceuticals explained that the idea to commence such a project in the country had started way back in April of 2021 when he was intimated about the arrival of the current minister of health Dr. Demby, this he said gave him the belief that such an astute individual will embrace company like ROCHE in the country to help the Ministry to fight cancer in the country. 

Speaking on behalf of the company, DR. Philip Anderson, Country Manager ROCHE Ghana, stated that the MOU was seen as a welcome gesture and a call to action for them as a company to work with the ministry of health, as the ministry alone cannot do without the support of the private sector. He continued to explain that their company has already been established in various African countries to help the health sector of these countries. The countries included Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and many other parts of the world to solve the problems of the people. He reminded us that the ministry has a social contract with the people of Sierra Leone and so does their company (ROCHE) as well. He ended by saying that the signed MOU marked the beginning of a long journey ahead. 

Presenting the signed MOU document, Dr. Alie Wurie, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Public Health at the Ministry of Health said that the signing of the MOU was not the final destination of the project but a start to a collaborative effort by both ROCHE and MOHS in addressing the critical issue of oncology in Sierra Leone. 

“This is not our final destination, this is opening the way for us to go into collaboration with ROCHE, for our start addressing some of the critical issues on oncology on cancer management in the country. We are all aware that the country is challenged in the area of diagnostic, especially early detection of cancer cases. In some areas when our health personnel or Doctors do suspect the development of cancer in patients, they are challenged in confirming those diagnoses in the country, as a ministry, and as a government, we have to send our patients outside the country just to confirm the diagnosis,” Dr. Wurie narrated. 

The event climaxed with a presentation of the signed MOU document to members of the press and by extension members of the public and senior officials of the ministry of health.