Novartis announces new strategy to provide innovative medicines to more patients in sub-Saharan Africa
Novartis announced a new strategy to broaden patient reach and availability of its portfolio of medicines in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which is home to the largest underserved patient population in the world. Novartis also aspires to be the partner of choice for governments and NGOs to strengthen healthcare systems across Africa.
"We are deeply committed to improving access to medicines around the world," says Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. "Building on our longstanding efforts to improving health in Africa, including on malaria and sickle cell disease, we're taking a comprehensive approach to ensuring patients in sub-Saharan Africa, regardless of income, have access to our portfolio of medicines."
A quarter of the global disease burden weighs on Africa, but only 3% of the world’s health workers are based on the continent and the share of the world’s health expenditure for Africa is below 1%. Health systems frequently have to rely on NGOs and external donors to fund and provide services for the largest underserved patient population in the world. 
As part of the new strategy, Novartis will pivot the current organizational focus in SSA from financial metrics such as sales performance and profits, to metrics that drive access to innovative medicines and strengthen health systems in the region. A new organizational unit will bring together the expertise and portfolio of our Sandoz Division, the Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Oncology business units comprising our Innovative Medicines Division and Novartis Social Business.