JUST IN: Sterling Bank And Roche Sign MoU On RupeFlexi To Treat Cancer—-Sterling Bank Plc has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Roche Nigeria Limited on breast cancer financing at a single digit interest rate. The product, known as RupeFlexi, was designed by Roche, mDoc and will be implemented with some of the leading cancer treatment centres in Nigeria to combat breast cancer in its early stages.
Speaking at the signing ceremony over the weekend, Yemi Odubiyi, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking with Sterling Bank noted that the bank is partnering with Roche because health is a key part of Sterling’s H.E.A.R.T. strategy. Other sectors in the HEART’s of Sterling programme include education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.
Odubiyi remarked that concerns about health have become very real across the world because of the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy in the last 18 months. He highlighted Sterling Bank’s significant and consistent investment in the health sector in recent times in partnership with federal agencies and state governments across the country, including the setting up of a N1 billion Health Workers’ Fund to augment the hazard allowance being paid to health workers, among others. He explained that the bank’s partnership with Roche would not be a one-off but a reminder of her standing commitment to the development of the Nigerian healthcare industry.
Also speaking, Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health and Education Sectors with Sterling Bank, described the MoU as a historic landmark for financing in the healthcare industry. He disclosed that under the partnership, the bank will extend financing of up to N10 million for a tenor of four years at a single interest rate of nine percent to cancer patients in stages one and two.
Ukachukwu listed the focus cancer centres for the pilot as: the NSIA Cancer Centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre, University Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Lakeshore Cancer Centre and the National Hospital in Abuja.
Dr. Ladi Hammeed, General Manager, Roche, noted with happiness that the partnership is actualized after about 12 months of co-creation between the two companies, adding that there is a need to talk about early awareness and treatment for cancer because it is a no respecter of persons.
Imo Etuk, Co-Founder & CTO with mDoc remarked how mDOC will use technology to connect patients in a bid to benefit from the initiative.
Expanding on mDOC’s input in actualizing RupeFlexi, Adaora Odukwe, Senior Project Manager with mDoc, explained that the Rupe Flexi Health solution provides flexible financing options for eligible patients with breast cancer to cover the cost of treatment along with virtual self-care support to help with lifestyle modification to improve cancer care and treat the five process would-be beneficiary will undergo to qualify for the funding.
Bindiya Sadarangani, Director of Lakeshore Cancer Centre in Lagos, said finance has been a major issue in the treatment of cancer. She described cancer treatment as having a high emotional and financial cost, noting that some patients had stopped treatment half-way because of lack of funding,
She added that although some non-governmental organisations were helping out some patients and that the new initiative between Sterling Bank and Roche would help make treatment accessible to more patients.
Dr. Oluwatomi Kogo, Clinical Service Manager with NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, said cancer could happen to anyone whether old or young because, in recent times, there have been instances of people who are about 18 years old developing cancer.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast when cells begin to grow out of control. The cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.
Roche is a large biotech company, with differentiated and innovative medicines in various disease areas, including oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and the central nervous system.
mDoc is a digital health social enterprise which aims to dramatically reduce the chronic disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa by providing people suffering from chronic diseases with integrated care support through mobile and web platforms.