Varian Medical Systems has entered into an agreement with the Algerian Ministry of Health (MoH) that will include the provisioning of six cancer treatment centres with US$51mn of advanced technology for radiotherapy and radiosurgery. Varian will also establish a local entity to provide a broad spectrum of services, as well as a regional training and education centre.
Varian will provide each of six cancer treatment centres with three medical linear accelerators, including a TrueBeam STx radiosurgery unit, as well as Eclipse treatment planning and Aria oncology information management software. These will be the first TrueBeam systems in Northern Africa. Varian plans to establish a parts depot in Algeria to make system components and tools readily available to service Varian equipment as needed.
The agreement also calls for the company to establish a regional training and education 'Center of Excellence' to serve as a training hub for the region. Programmes at the centre will be designed to help clinicians develop the skills for using Varian technology to deliver advanced radiotherapy treatments.
Varian currently has an installed base of six treatment systems in Algeria, having installed its first medical linear accelerator there nearly 25 years ago.
The company will begin installing technology in 2014 and expects to book approximately half of the orders in Q214, with the remaining portion to be booked as additional delivery dates are set and service is performed.
Business Monitor International's Q1 2014 Algeria Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report notes that cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease are the leading causes of death in Algeria. They jointly account for up to 70% of all deaths in the country. Around 40,000 new cases of cancer are registered each year, although the country only has a handful of specialist oncology centres.
Despite efforts to improve access to cancer treatment, problems still persist. The problem has also been exacerbated by the increasing numbers of those suffering from cancer. According to Professor Mohamed Afiane, head of the radiology department at the Centre Pierre et Marie Curie, of 40,000 new cancer patients recorded each year, 28,000 require radiotherapy treatment. However, existing facilities are capable of treating just 8,000 patients. The construction of new, and the modernisation of existing, cancer centres is planned under the government's healthcare provision improvement programme.