UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


East Africa-India-UK research collaboration to improve access to cancer care in East Africa

Technology produced in India could be the low-cost solution to address increasing demands for healthcare technology and access in East Africa

Close up image of microscope

An increasing number of people in the East Africa region are dying from cancer through poor diagnosis and treatment, and often excluded from treatment that is expensive or inaccessible. At the same time, many of these much-needed technologies are being developed in India, a country with a growing pharmaceutical industry and a track record of low-cost production. 

The team addressing this challenge involves Kenya's large pharmaceutical industry and local health specialists with Indian and UK collaborators. Together they will explore the potential of linking technological advances in India with innovative production methods in East Africa, to increase access to low-cost cancer care in Kenya and Tanzania. 

The project is unique in focus, linking local industrial development with improving cancer care in East Africa, says Professor Maureen Mackintosh, Professor of Economics at the Open University, who is leading the collaboration. This work is part of a new project, 'GCRF Inclusive Societies: How to link industrial and social innovation for inclusive development lessons from tackling cancer care in Africa' and will run from September 2019 to February 2021.

The bid for funding was supported by the Open University's Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD) research area, and the international Development and inclusive Innovation (IDII) strategic research area. 

The collaboration brings together the Open University, University of Edinburgh, University of Sussex, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the Economic and Social Research Foundation, Zanzania (ESRF), and the the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research's National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in India.