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IBM Health Corps and American Cancer Society

2016
Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia

One of the greatest challenges in cancer today is how to improve survival in low-resource countries, where for many years cancer has been a neglected issue. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 500,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa died of cancer in 2016, more than those who have died of malaria. And for every four people who die of HIV/AIDS, there will be three who die of cancer, and the cancer burden is projected to increase by 85% in Sub-Saharan Africa in the next 15 years. Despite this critical need, fewer than 10% receive any treatment - even simple pain relief – in these countries.

This lack of access is due to a poorly operating oncology care market. Chemotherapy manufacturers believe there isn’t enough demand in these markets to serve them, leaving the markets to a network of middlemen, which results in overpriced cancer drugs -- often of poor quality -- and a sheer lack of the right drugs on pharmacies’ shelves.

To address this challenge, IBM Health Corps and the American Cancer Society (ACS) partnered to create a chemotherapy-forecasting tool. They pulled together cancer treatment guidelines with epidemiological data with the practicalities of how cancer care works in hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa, to form the foundation of a functional, user-friendly tool. The tool, called “ChemoQuant,” allows Ministries of Health to create accurate chemotherapy forecasts and improve market transparency, increasing access to life-saving care.

In 2017, a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa will launch the use of ChemoQuant to improve their procurement processes for chemotherapy.

“For too long, it has been assumed that cancer treatment is too expensive and too complex to be scaled up in lower-income countries. But this simply is not true. In partnership with IBM and other global health leaders, we are going to change the rules of the game globally in oncology.”

Gary Reedy
Chief Executive Officer
American Cancer Society

Recent news:
- “Cancer Moonshot: The Moon Belongs to All of Us” by Sally Cowal, Sr. VP, Global Health, American Cancer Society (available online)
- "Sharing data could help African governments reduce the cost of cancer treatment," Quartz Africa (available online)
- "Computing Chemo: How IBM is Helping to Bring Cancer Treatment to Africa" by Sally Cowal, Sr. VP, Global Health, American Cancer Society (available online)

Team Members

tom eggebraaten

Tom Eggebraaten

Watson Solution Development

IBM Watson Health

United States

Watson Solution Development

IBM Watson Health

United States

IBM Health Corps Team:

sabine holl

Sabine Holl

Director, Software Technical Sales and Services

IBM Software Sales

United Arab Emirates

Director, Software Technical Sales and Services

IBM Software Sales

United Arab Emirates

IBM Health Corps Team:

gert h n laursen

Gert H. N. Laursen

Senior Managing Consultant

Global Business Services

Denmark

Senior Managing Consultant

Global Business Services

Denmark

IBM Health Corps Team:

carol smith

Carol Smith

Senior Design Manager

IBM Watson

United States

Senior Design Manager

IBM Watson

United States

IBM Health Corps Team:

graham wills

Graham Wills, PhD

Data Scientist & Software Architect

IBM Analytics

United States

Data Scientist & Software Architect

IBM Analytics

United States

IBM Health Corps Team:

nicholas wolter

Nicholas Wolter

User Interface Software Engineer

IBM Watson Health

United States

User Interface Software Engineer

IBM Watson Health

United States

IBM Health Corps Team:

Project Champions

Gary Reedy

Chief Executive Officer

American Cancer Society

Ambassador Sally Cowal

Senior Vice President

Global Health

Megan O'Brein, PhD

Director

Global Cancer Treatment

Media