Interview with Lena Wahlhed, Director Alliance Development, HemoCue at AIDF Africa Summit 2016
What is HemoCue’s involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa?
HemoCue is a global leader in a field of near patient testing. Our solutions are being used in high end hospitals as well as in the most rural undeveloped villages – without compromising accuracy. They are being used in emergency situations, in standard routine care as well as in mobile screening programs and mobile hospitals – in any climate. We have been on the African continent since > 15 years. We have a subsidiary in South Africa, a franchise company in Kenya and many longstanding excellent distributors in many other countries making our solutions available throughout Africa. We have dedicated Regional sales managers for West as well as East Africa supported by our Regional Sales Director in South Africa. We are mindful of the complexity and invest in continuous learning regards to the needs in the countries. HemoCue is a member of the UN Global Compact and strongly support the Sustainable Development Goals. Part of this is our determination to support sustainable support to our customers and the people they are to serve. HemoCue Headquarter in Sweden have dedicated staff for International aid/NGO/health organizations.
Which products/services does HemoCue offer in the region? What are your priorities?
We offer point of care solutions that are easy to use and which we believe are important, where the patient is and not where the laboratory happens to be. Number one is Anemia. Anemia due to malnutrition or malaria presents a major public health burden in many developing countries. Pregnant women and preschool children are especially at risk, and untreated it may have devastating effects on the prosperity of an entire society. With HemoCue we can make it easy to detect those at risk and take action. By providing access to accurate screening tools to measure hemoglobin whether in hospital or in the field, the children who will be shaping our future, can be protected. One drop of blood in combination with HemoCue’s point-of-care testing systems can make a difference.
In your opinion, what are the key trends and future developments in the humanitarian aid sector?
It is my understanding that there is a move towards capacity building in order to treat the patient from a holistic view and not only one condition but also related diseases/symptoms. It is our belief that anemia has to be highlighted. Children need not only to survive – they need to thrive, It is great that malaria is being treated, that treatment for HIV is provided – but we must not neglect anemia, For each year we do, we lose a generation. A child that has anemia will not be able to play, learn and be as active as children should be. A man with anemia will not be able to work as hard as if he was not anemic, And unless acted on in the early years, it cannot be reversed, A pregnant women will face a much more complicated pregnancy if she is anemic to start with, her baby will not have the start it could have, if anemia was not in the way. It has immense risk if we do not act. The 1000 days concept is close to our hearts,
What actions need to be implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa?
Screening for anemia, treating its cause, provides the future that the children of Africa deserves.
How does HemoCue prepare for the future?
We have anemia as our priority. We are a commercial company but to the best of our knowledge we will support the fight against anemia. Every child counts, every drop of blood counts - together we can make a difference. Our mission is “Embrace Heatlh, Unite to Screen and Treat Anemia!” and we encourage communities, doctors, NGOs, MoH and many more, to join us.
What is your impression of the AIDF Africa Summit?
I would like to express my sincere comments that indeed this has been a fantastic meeting. Well organized in all aspects. A nice mix of delegates and companies in a friendly, open and networking format.
What is your view of the audience and representation of the key stakeholder groups during the two days?
Indeed a great audience and stakeholders
Would you recommend the AIDF Africa Summit to your industry colleagues? If so, why?
For what I know today, it has been a great learning. It is a dedicated team providing much added value,
In what way did your company benefit by sponsoring and participating at the AIDF Africa Summit?
It allowed for a platform to discuss important topics and it provided valuable insights also from the NGO perspective.
Did it help you build partnerships and strengthen relationships within and across sectors?
In a humble way I hope that HemoCue, our message and our solutions were well and warm received. I believe that we were able to share our true commitment to the people in the African continent and that we are here to support in a collaborative effort in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The HemoCue team at AIDF consisted of me, Lena Wahlhed from the HemoCue headquarter in Sweden – our team in Africa Mr Evan Herbst, Mr Patrick Leo, Mr Pierre Costabel and our wonderful host and excellent distributor in Ethiopia Mrs Tsehaye Alemayehu CEO of Setema Ltd.