Pfizer Foundation Grant Enables
Scale Pilot for iBreastExam in Myanmar
Breast cancer is the leading site of cancer amongst women in Myanmar with a mortality rate significantly higher relative to the region and the world at large.
We are proud to share an example of the work our team at UE LifeSciences has done and how a meaningful grant from Pfizer Foundation will catapult that effort into a potentially large-scale implementation with the ability to impact millions of women. Like in the case of many low and middle income countries (LMICs), Myanmar is no different; it's a fast-growing, emerging market with population of appx. 53 million people.
We at UE LifeSciences got interested in Myanmar about eighteen months ago. As the economy opened up under the new regime, we realized that there was immense potential for affordable and accessible innovations. Specifically, the government was keen to invest in upgrading and modernizing the health infrastructure. Given the strategic proximity to India, we decided to introduce iBreastExam in Myanmar with the help of a well-established domestic partner.
Over the past eighteen months, we have worked diligently alongside our partner and invested significantly to create awareness for breast cancer early detection. Our small team has made over 15 trips to demonstrate our innovation to Health Ministry officials, KOLs and leading NGOs like Marie Stopes. Along the way, we held CMEs, screening camps with NGOs, conducted a small clinical evaluation, convinced key KOLs, and secured local FDA clearance. The only box left to tick was a demonstration of scale-implementation as requested by health ministry officials. The burden of an additional investment towards a pilot was something we couldn’t take on.
The answer came from Pfizer Foundation. As a newly inducted member of the prestigious Innovations in Healthcare (IiH) program run by Duke University, we applied for Pfizer Foundation’s Global Health Innovation Grants (GHIG) program. And our proposal made it!
The grant will allow us to put together a comprehensive pilot of iBreastExam in Myanmar and work directly with the Myanmar Ministry of Health (MoH). The program will spread awareness and advocacy about the important of breast cancer early detection to 20,000 women, bring access to early detection of breast cancer to 10,000 women and may result in the diagnosis of 10+ breast cancer cases at an early stage. We will work with the MoH to ensure that access to treatment is made available. We hope that the success of this pilot program further enables MoH to scale-up the adoption of a comprehensive breast cancer control program in Myanmar.
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