The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

USAID injects 2.4 billion/- into advanced cancer treatment technology at KCMC Hospital

The United States Agency for International Development is dishing out USD1.05 million to support the construction of a cutting-edge radiation treatment hub at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi.

An official statement from the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre reveals that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is channeling the funds through KCMC’s partnership with the Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania (FCCT).

The project will bring critically needed cancer care technology to Tanzania’s underserved northern region. FCCT is a Minnesota, USA, organization committed to supporting cancer treatment and palliative care in northern Tanzania.

Construction of the radiation center started in 2021 with funds from the Tanzanian Government.

Tanzania, through the country’s Ministry of Health, has contributed 3 billion/- towards the four-unit treatment facility.

USAID, on the other hand, is providing additional support for this project in Moshi Municipality of Kilimanjaro Region.

The head of the department at the KCMC Cancer Care Centre, Dr. Furaha Serventi, said the project adheres to American Best Practices (ABPs) and represents the deeply held values of care held by the Ministry of Health and both the Tanzanian and American people.

“This project will also provide equal access to medical care for both men and women as stipulated in U.S. policies and our own gender equity commitment,” Serventi maintained.

“The region has been in dire need for radiation treatment for cervical cancer, which affects only women.”

It is reported that cervical cancer is becoming a serious epidemic in Tanzania.

The rate of infection in the country stands at 62.5/100,000 compared to 6.2/ 100,000 in the U.S.

So far it is a leading cause of death for women due to lack of diagnosis and treatment.

Early detection and access to radiological treatment, considered an ABP of care, is essential to saving women’s lives.

Over USD 4 million in additional funds will be needed to purchase radiation equipment to complete the facility.

“Cancer being one of the leading causes of death in Tanzania, this project will thus save many lives,” said KCMC executive director Dr. Gileard Masenga.

“Today, over 60 percent of all Tanzania cancer patients need safe radiation technologies as a major component of their care or palliative treatment. Unfortunately, many in the northern region, especially women with cervical cancer, cannot receive this care due to lack of facilities and the need for long, unaffordable travel.”

The addition of the four-unit radiation treatment facility now under construction will elevate KCMC to a comprehensive cancer center serving 15 million people in the region.

At the moment there isn’t any such medical treatment within a radius of 340 miles.

“The assistance from the Ministry, the USAID award to FCCT for the project, and other support will make a big impact in Tanzania where the need for basic cancer care is far greater than in the U.S. which is already amply served,” said the FCCT board chair, Tom Flynn, who is also a hematologist and cancer specialist.

He pointed out that 80 percent of U.S. pediatric cancers are cured, often through use of radiation therapy while in Tanzania, the cure rate is just 20 percent due poor access to medical care which includes critical radiation treatment.

Flynn adds that the partnership with KCMC also embodies USAID’s goals of promoting gender equity, health, education and productive populations, and building strong local partnerships.

Previously, FCCT has supported establishment of a cancer care and infusion center, an inpatient ward and family care facility, as well as advanced training of Tanzanian oncology professionals.

The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania (FCCT) was founded in 2013 to help address the overwhelming need for cancer care in that East African Nation.

Among its founding visionaries were a Minnesota healthcare administrator and doctors who have worked in northern Tanzania for decades and seen firsthand the plight facing individuals with cancer in this region of the world.

Based in Minneapolis, FCCT is a Minnesota based nonprofit entity led by an executive director and volunteer board.

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