TOKYO and NORTHBROOK, Ill., November 20, 2018 – Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., "Astellas") announced the launch of the Astellas Global Health Foundation (AGHF), a new international philanthropic organization dedicated to improving access to health in underserved global communities. Key areas of focus for the AGHF initially will be neglected tropical and communicable diseases, children’s health and mental health in low-income communities and low-and middle-income countries where Astellas, a company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world, does not have a commercial presence. Additionally, AGHF will fund programs that build healthier communities and provide disaster preparedness and relief in these same geographies.
The Astellas Global Health Foundation merges three former philanthropic entities – the Astellas USA Foundation (AUSF), the Astellas European Foundation (AEF), and the Astellas Asia-Oceania Foundation (AAOF) – into one organization.
The goal is to support some of the world’s most vulnerable populations in areas with high child mortality rates, low life expectancies, and insufficient access to health. Since 2005, the three foundations have contributed nearly $25 million to charities and partners aligned with each foundation’s focus areas.
“The World Bank and World Health Organization reported last year that half the world’s population lacks access to essential health services,” said Moyra Knight, president of the Astellas Global Health Foundation. “The Astellas Global Health Foundation’s focus on increasing access to health will contribute toward making a sustainable impact on the health of people around the world.”
Access to health remains a significant challenge for underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries. A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine calls for urgent, comprehensive efforts to address what it calls the “global quality chasm” in healthcare worldwide. The report finds up to eight million deaths occur annually in low- and middle-income countries due to poor-quality healthcare.
In its first year, the Astellas Global Health Foundation will send a request for proposal to eligible organizations that primarily focus on strengthening health infrastructure and enhancing the availability and accessibility of quality healthcare with a focus on three key areas in low-and middle-income communities:
- Children’s health: The Foundation seeks to address high child mortality rates by supporting programs that, for example, improve access to preventative measures such as medicines, nutrition or vaccines for children in need;
- Mental health: The Foundation seeks to improve access to mental health diagnosis and treatment, especially in individuals experiencing life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease;
- Neglected tropical and communicable diseases: The Foundation will support programs that improve access to health for major communicable diseases and neglected tropical diseases in support of the WHO goals for control, elimination and eradication.
Grants that were made to organizations prior to the formation of the Astellas Global Health Foundation will be honored through the term of the commitments.