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The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania enhances cancer care to improve the lives of citizens of Tanzania through prevention education programs, early detection and diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care.
Working in partnership with regional and international partners, FCCT will build a comprehensive, sustainable cancer care system to serve cancer patients across the northern healthcare zone of Tanzania. Through programs for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care, this system will reduce cancer morbidity and mortality rates for northern Tanzanians of all ages.
Cancer is the leading non-communicable disease in Tanzania , with diabetes a distant second, and cardiovascular disease third. There are more deaths from cancer worldwide than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, due in large part to lack of screening and early detection.
A cancer diagnosis is devastating wherever in the world it is delivered – but in northern Tanzania, it is often a death sentence. Prior to FCCT’s involvement, Tanzania had just two cancer care facilities to serve a population of over 50 million. Northern Tanzania lacked any designated cancer care facilities whatsoever for its 15 million people. An opportunity with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), a northern zonal hospital and academic centre, gave FCCT a health care partner for developing a comprehensive cancer centre to serve that region.
FCCT will support Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in building, staffing and operating a new Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre on the KCMC campus in Moshi, serving pediatric and adult patients. The Cancer Care Centre began with a diagnostic & treatment clinic, Infusion Centre, an early diagnosis/awareness screening program and a palliative care program. The next step is to add an in-patient ward for specific cancer care and a family care hostel to encourage patients to complete their treatments.
In the last phase, FCCT will work in partnership with health centres in the northern healthcare zone, along with funding from the Tanzanian government, to ensure accessible cancer treatment and care that will increase the success rate of treatment. This includes building a new Radiation Centre as well as more training for those providing care to patients. A “hub and spoke” community model, proven as a successful healthcare model, will be created through dispensaries and health care centers connected to the Cancer Care Centre to ensure that care is accessible across the region.
Due to social determinants such as lack of transportation, housing, and social support, patients cannot complete treatments without subsidized care like chemotherapy and other medications. Phase II includes constructing a family care hostel at KCMC to provide patients and their families with a place to stay while they are receiving care and treatment. Combined with social supports like transportation, social workers and medicine subsidies, the hostel will increase the likelihood of patients completing their treatment plans and achieving positive outcomes.
For the first time, cancer patients in Tanzania’s northern healthcare zone have access to the four pillars of cancer care: prevention & education, early detection & diagnosis, treatment and palliative care. By the end 2017, the first full year of operation, the Cancer Care Centre saw 710 new patients. With the next phases complete, the centre will treat many more patients and be equipped to provide more efficient and effective quality of care by dedicated and specialized cancer care staff and physicians.