Improvement in Accessibility to Healthcare

People in some parts of the world have difficulty receiving proper healthcare because the systems that encompass healthcare environments and programs are underdeveloped.
To address one of its responsibilities as a global company, Sysmex is working to improve access to proper healthcare so that as many people as possible may receive it. To that end, we are helping promote universal health coverage (UHC)* in emerging countries and developing countries by making testing widely available.
  • UHC means giving all people access to affordable, proper services for health improvement, prevention, or treatment of diseases, and recovery of function.

Improving Access to Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases

Sysmex provides technologies and products to assist with the diagnosis of the world’s three major infectious diseases, such as malaria and HIV, as part of its efforts to combat them.

Contribution to Malaria Elimination

Sysmex has taken up the challenge of finding solutions to testing and diagnostic issues in the area in which it operates. Such efforts serve to help eliminate malaria, one of the world’s three major infectious diseases.
In June 2020, Sysmex obtained marketing approval for its Automated Hematology Analyzer as a specially controlled medical device (Class III)1 that aids the diagnosis of malaria for the first time in Japan. The Company acquired the EU’s CE certification for the device in 2019, and it has been working on obtaining approval in African nations.
The current mainstream method of testing for malaria uses a rapid diagnostic kit or a microscope. But both options pose problems such as taking much time, ranging from about 15 to 30 minutes, including pretreatment, and requiring skilled techniques in microscopic testing. In contrast, the Automated Hematology Analyzer can identify red blood cells infected with malaria parasites and measure the percentage of infected cells without pretreatment, executing both processes in about one minute2 automatically and precisely.3
Malaria is a disease in which the number of deaths can be reduced by early detection and treatment. By providing the clinical front with a device that can swiftly and easily produce the outcome of testing useful for diagnosis, Sysmex contributes to measures against imported infectious diseases in Japan.
Also, domestic marketing approval as a specially controlled medical device is listed in the procurement criteria of international funds and funding from other organizations4 which are working to improve access to healthcare in emerging and developing countries. Through partnerships with such organizations, we aim to introduce the product to countries and regions, either emerging or developing, where medical resources are limited, and to eliminate malaria globally.
Sysmex has been involved in initiatives by, and the operation of, the Malaria Consortium, which consists of research institutes and enterprises that have been combating malaria since 2016. In the field of testing and diagnosis, we contribute to project activities conducted through industry-government-academia partnerships in Asia and Africa. At the 7th Nikkei FT Communicable Diseases Conference, all sessions of which were streamed live, we made an activity report on the industry-government-academia initiatives at the Malaria Consortium.
  • Malaria Consortium Initiatives
    Malaria Consortium Initiatives
  • Analyzer delivered to a medical institution in Côte d’Ivoire
    Analyzer delivered to a medical institution in Côte d’Ivoire
  • 1 Medical device considered to pose a relatively high risk to the human body in the event of malfunction
  • 2 Time from specimen setting to judgment of outcome
  • 3 Testing by the analyzer does not mean replacement of malaria diagnosis by microscopic testing. Nor does it mean, a diagnosis can be made through the outcome of analyzer testing alone. Diagnostic confirmation is based on a doctor’s comprehensive judgment which includes other clinical information.
  • 4 The WHO and international funds permit a simplified examination process for high-risk products if those products have obtained approval from a rigorous examination body that those organizations designate, with a view toward accelerating the introduction of various products to emerging countries and developing countries. This is stated in their procurement criteria, and regulatory approval as a Specially Controlled Medical Device (Class III) in Japan qualifies as one of these rigorous examination criteria.

Story: Stakeholder’s Voice

Chiaki Takeuchi is involved in product planning, business development, and collaborative study development of new diagnostic technologies in the Hematology Business Development Department. “It was like venturing into uncharted territory”, she says, looking back on their multi-year project.

Our Contributions to the Quality of HIV Diagnosis and Treatment

CD4+ lymphocyte testing system
CD4+ lymphocyte testing system
Sysmex provides the CD4+ lymphocyte testing system developed and produced by Sysmex Partec, in emerging markets and developing countries. This system measures, within three minutes, the number and percentage value of CD4+ lymphocytes in the blood. In addition to being compact and portable, the system is easily maintained, facilitating testing that is simple, swift, and stable.
The system has received prequalification* from the WHO. This prequalification facilitated the introduction of a system in countries with limited healthcare resources, which has enabled us to help improve the quality of HIV diagnoses and treatment in emerging markets and developing countries.

  • WHO prequalification aims to ensure that diagnostics, medicines, vaccines, and immunization-related equipment and devices for high-burden diseases meet global standards of quality, safety, and efficacy, in order to optimize the use of health resources and improve health outcomes. The system was established in 2001 in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Today, it is used in emerging markets and developing countries as a reference list for purchasing. Organizations such as the Global Fund give purchasing priority to products with this prequalification.

In fiscal 2010, Sysmex donated hematology analyzers in support of ILFAR, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building an HIV/AIDS medical infrastructure in Kenya, and Sysmex has continued to provide support since then. ILFAR provides education about HIV/AIDS and conducts regular free screening in the area. Sysmex made another donation to the organization in fiscal 2020.

Participating in the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)

Since 2015, Sysmex has participated in the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), which states its vision for action as “one in which the crushing burden of infectious disease no longer prevents billions of people in the developing world from seeking the level of prosperity and longevity now common in the industrialized world”. The GHIT Fund has entered its second phase of activity (2018–2022), shifting from its initial focus on product development to activities to provide products to the people who need them. We will continue to participate in the Fund’s second-phase efforts. By promoting initiatives aimed at developing and providing new reagents for infectious diseases through Japanese technological innovation, we will contribute to the eradication of infectious diseases in developing countries.

Improving Access to Diagnostics for Non-communicable Diseases

In emerging and developing countries, infectious diseases are still a major problem, whereas the number of people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, and renal disease are on the rise, especially in urban areas. Sysmex works to make the tests that are key to countering NCDs widely available. Such tests are necessary for the prevention, early detection, and early treatment of NCDs.

Sysmex Certified a “JICA-SDGs Partner” through Its Project for Dissemination of Automated Urinalysis Diagnosis Technology in Ghana

Sysmex has promoted the Dissemination of Automated Urinalysis Diagnosis Technology project in Ghana since 2018 as part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s Collaboration Program with the Private Sector for Disseminating Japanese Technology for the Social and Economic Development of Developing Countries. We introduced a fully automated general urinalysis testing system to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana’s national education hospital, and held seminars and symposiums for a total of about 500 local healthcare professionals. In August 2020, this project was recognized as an effort toward the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Sysmex was certified as a JICA-SDGs Partner. We will remain committed to enlightening local health workers on the clinical value and effectiveness of automated urinalysis diagnosis technology as part of our efforts to help raise healthcare standards in Ghana and other developing countries.
  • Symposium at KATH
    Symposium at KATH
  • JICA-SDGs Partner Certificate
    JICA-SDGs Partner Certificate

Improving Healthcare Environments in Asia

In addition to improving healthcare infrastructures, having appropriately trained healthcare professionals is an essential part of improving access to healthcare. In Asia, Sysmex provides educational support to increase the quality of clinical laboratories and clinical testing. We also conduct seminars and study sessions that impart leading-edge scientific information to healthcare professionals. 

Technical Support to Provide High-quality Test Data

Signing ceremony with Mongolia’s Ministry of Health
Signing ceremony with Mongolia’s Ministry of Health
In Asia, Sysmex has to date provided activities designed to help improve the quality and accuracy of clinical tests in China, Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines.
In Mongolia, Sysmex continues to provide support activities in the fields of hematology, clinical chemistry, and immunochemistry. In 2017, we expanded this support to include the field of blood morphology testing. In addition to making technological and academic expertise available to local clinical laboratory technologists, Sysmex contributes to the improvement of the level of healthcare in Mongolia by supporting the construction and operation of a nationally implemented external quality control framework for blood morphology testing. In Myanmar and Cambodia, Sysmex engages in similar activities in external quality control for blood cell count examination, thereby helping improve the quality of clinical tests.
Moreover, in China, our Sysmex Reference Counter has been employed since 2002 as a National Standard Device* for blood cell count screening. For all blood cell counters in China, registration/inspection of such devices and their external accuracy control are based on this device. Sysmex has also lent China the latest model of its Reference Counter, starting in fiscal 2019, as well as offering continued support for technological transfers and exchanges of blood testing/reference measurement methods, and for formulation of national guidelines for clinical examination. Sysmex is thus contributing to improving blood cell count accuracy and testing standardization in China.
  • A device for specifying national standards for blood cell count examination

Improving Healthcare Environments in Africa

In Africa, Sysmex has established local subsidiaries in five countries: South Africa, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Egypt. We aim to engage in wide-ranging activities through these subsidiaries (e.g., opening educational facilities and collaborating with government agencies, research institutes, and NPOs), thereby helping to raise local healthcare standards.

Helping Clinical Laboratories with Capacity Building

Mentorship training session
Mentorship training session
Sysmex opened a training center called the Sysmex Academy for each of its local subsidiaries in Africa in order to provide education on clinical value and expertise in equipment maintenance for local distributors and healthcare professionals. We also offer mentorship training that we developed independently to ensure that laboratories’ quality management systems conform to ISO 15189.

Story: Stakeholder’s Voice

Comments from Trainees
“In the mentorship program, training on laboratory quality enhancement was provided to us as staff members. It was very meaningful to learn about quality control systems for clinical laboratories that match international standards, and we reconfirmed the objectives and significance of testing. I think this program will help raise the level of quality in clinical testing”.

Collaboration with Government Agencies and International Organizations

Sysmex worked with Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health to carry out a project for establishing and maintaining a nationwide network of blood tests. We installed about 100 pieces of equipment, each suitable for the size of the facilities, and we provided more than 650 laboratory technicians, engineers, and pediatricians with training to meet their professional needs. This project created opportunities for blood tests, including 1.2 million new blood tests per year at local medical institutions in rural regions and remote areas. We are already scheduled to launch similar activities for malaria tests and blood coagulation tests.
In Gabon, the Japanese Embassy ran Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects called the “Expansion Plans for the Functions of the Maternal and Child Health Department in Lambaréné” and the “Expansion Plans for the Functions of the Maternal and Child Health Department in Akebe Plaine”. In these projects, we provided training on how to use and maintain Sysmex equipment to healthcare professionals at regional health departments in an effort to help with health worker development and improve the healthcare environment.
In Kenya and Senegal, as a member of the strategic alliance between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and medical device manufacturers, Sysmex offers a program to train clinical laboratory technicians as part of a joint effort to develop a bachelor’s program in biomedical engineering, thereby helping raise local healthcare standards.
Sysmex South Africa offers a variety of educational opportunities in partnership with the Global Educational Exchanges in Medicine and the Health Professions (GEMx), an organization working with medical schools and institutions around the world to promote education and exchange programs.
Sysmex also works with many other government agencies and international organizations, including national health departments across Africa and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Providing Solutions for COVID-19 Pandemic and other Global Health Issues

In April 2021,  the Global Health Business Leader Coalition handed a written request entitled “Global Health Strategies That Leverage Private Sector Strengths and Resources – Aiming to Solve Increasingly Complex and Diverse Issues in Global Health” to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The Coalition consists of voluntary members who are executives of Japanese companies contributing to global health (in the area of healthcare as a global-level issue; it refers especially to assistance and projects in the areas of public health and anti-infectious disease measures). Hisashi Ietsugu, Chairman and CEO of Sysmex, was among the voluntary members who signed this request.
The request urges the Japanese government to leverage its Official Development Assistance (ODA) in further facilitating private sector operations in global health, enhancing synergies among the public and private sectors and ODA, and strengthening the development of human resources with global health expertise, including those from the private sector.