Sh38 billion cancer project to enhance cancer care in Tanzania launched

Monday December 16 2019

 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3 jnamkwahe@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian government, Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), and the French Development Agency (AFD) today Monday, December16, 2019, signed a grant agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth €13.3 million (Sh38bbillion) for the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP) aiming at enhancing cancer care in Tanzania.

The project is an innovative Public-Private project, funded by a €10 million grant from AFD and €3.3 million contribution from Aga Khan Foundation Geneva which is part of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

With the rise in the prevalence of cancer in Tanzania, the proposed project will serve to accelerate performance in cancer screening, prevention and early detection targeting low-income groups through mobile outreach campaigns.

The signing ceremony held at Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI)  was graced by the deputy minister of  Health Ministry Dr Faustine Ndugulile, and  attended by various representatives from the government, private sector and development partners.

Speaking during the ceremony, Dr Harrison Chuwa, Consultant Oncologist at the Aga Khan Hospital and director for TCCP said, the project is a four-year plan designed to reduce the burden of cancer mortality and morbidity in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza. 

According to Dr Chuwa, this will be achieved through a strategy that focuses on the enhanced performance and expanded the outreach of the Tanzanian based implementing partners including Aga Khan Health Services Tanzania (AKHST), ORCI, Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Bugando Medical Center (BMC), Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regional secretariats and the Health Ministry.

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Under the project, the implementing partners will create an integrated health care network at local and hospital levels to accelerate performance in cancer care in the country.

Tanzania and other developing countries are disproportionately affected by cancer, where a dramatic rise in cancer incidence and mortality has become high.

This places an enormous burden on the Dar es Salaam-based ORCI which until 2014 was the only public cancer hospital responsible for serving the country's 55 million inhabitants.

According to ORCI executive director Dr Julius Mwaiselage, the cancer hospital is currently receiving 64,000 cancer patients per year, compared to 30,000 patients in 2015.

Addressing the objectives of the project, AFD Country Director Ms Stephanie Mouen raised optimism that the proposed project will complement the government's efforts on creating greater access of cancer care for the vulnerable populations in Tanzania.

The AKDN director of health services Dr Gijs Walraven reiterated the network's commitment to continue supporting East African countries in improving health care provision.