Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania
Episode 5. Prevention through awareness – Beating cancer by spreading knowledge.

Episode 5. Prevention through awareness – Beating cancer by spreading knowledge.

Episode 5. Prevention through awareness – Beating cancer by spreading knowledge.

Prevention through awareness - beating cancer by spreading knowledge.

As a Public Health specialist with a Phd doctorate in cervical cancer screening in women, Antje Henke has been working at the Cancer Care Centre since 2016, when she moved to Tanzania from Germany, along with her husband Dr. Oliver Henke and their three boys. Since then, she has been co-working with the medical staff at KCMC to spread knowledge about cancers and to teach people about the ways to detect symptoms early.

‘In the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, only little research has been done into cancer…cancer is a major problem, but data and cancer registry are really missing here’, says Antje.

To help tackle this issue, an awareness and prevention outreach program called Prevacamp was started at KCMC in 2017, which Antje has been leading. As part of the program, cancer specialists and nurses from the hospital visit other hospitals and locations in the Kilimanjaro region to provide educational talks and spread awareness about cancer diseases.

On top of this incredible work, some auxiliary programs have also been set up to help alleviate people’s preoccupations of being diagnosed with cancer and help them deal with life after diagnosis. Prevatrain was created in order to increase the availability of specialized assistance, by training up aspiring health-care workers, while Prevaschool was rolled out to offer cancer education in schools, so that young people could be prepared should they ever be affected by cancer in the future.

In this insightful conversation you’ll hear about the pioneering work that is underway to create more cancer awareness, detection and prevention in Tanzania.

Enjoy!

Episode 4. Meet Anna Massawe – A champion in palliative care.

Episode 4. Meet Anna Massawe – A champion in palliative care.

Episode 4. Meet Anna Massawe – A champion in palliative care.

Anna Massawe is a Palliative Care Coordinator Nurse working at the Cancer Care Centre. As a young girl she dreamt of being a policewoman, but her father always knew that she was destined for a career in care services, given her nurturing spirit and her passion for helping people.

She began her career in medicine at the KCMC hospital, where she joined as an Orthopaedic Nurse. After a successful ten year stint, she spent three years undertaking further studies in nursing at the Kilimanjaro Christian University College. She then returned to KCMC to work in the urology department, where she saw lots of HIV patients. It was at that point that she began to take an interest in palliative care, as most of the HIV patients that she saw also had cancers, and they were not receiving the necessary type of care for their conditions.

Today, Anna is a champion of palliative care at KCMC; working and training aspiring health workers on the practices of giving palliative care. A typical day will see her drive along with a team of doctors and nurses to visit patients at their homes, often miles out in rural areas with little if any sanitary services. There, she will tend to their metastatic wounds and hand them some life essentials including food and basic sanitary provisions. While she is there she always makes sure she speaks with her patients, making sure that they feel heard and above all cared for. Anna’s story is truly inspiring. Enjoy!

Episode 3. Changing narratives – Rethinking cancer treatment in Tanzania.

Episode 3. Changing narratives – Rethinking cancer treatment in Tanzania.

Episode 3. Changing narratives – Rethinking cancer treatment in Tanzania.

As a specialised Haematologist, Dr Elifuraha Mkwizu is a central figure in the diagnostics and research practices at the Cancer Care Centre. Having trained as an internal medicine physician in Russia, and then specialised in Haematology in India, he draws some profound comparisons in the way that cancer diseases are managed medically as well as culturally.

For instance, in Tanzania a lymphocytic leukaemia is treated as palliative, or to put it simply, as a terminal state of cancer. However, ‘..cancer should be treated like a chronic disease, like diabetes, like hypertension..it should not be a death certificate to anyone’, says Dr Mkwizu. And so while he and the staff at KCMC are out to change the narrative, as a case in point, the first ever patient with an acute leukemia was fully treated at the centre in 2021. In this episode you’ll hear about the ‘tears of joy’ that the young 29 year old man sheds on every return visit to the clinic.

But there’s still lots to do, and the challenges are many. As Dr Mkwizu explains, there is a desperate need for more diagnostic capabilities and treatment in order to catch diseases in their early stages, and give patients a better chance to get cured, through detailed treatment plans.

Episode 2. Laying the foundations – Building the Cancer Care Centre.

Episode 2. Laying the foundations – Building the Cancer Care Centre.

Episode 2. Laying the foundations – Building the Cancer Care Centre.

Dr Oliver Henke is a German Haemato-Oncologist who has been working at the KCMC Hospital’s Cancer Care Centre for the past five years. In 2016 he and his family left their life in Germany to move to Moshi, Tanzania, so that he could join in the efforts by the KCMC and FCCT to offer oncology services at the hospital.

What started as a simple idea amongst a group of doctors; to provide some oncology consultation services in the wards, gradually developed over the years and has become the specialised unit that the cancer centre is today. Through lots of hard work and dedication, the centre is now an institute to be reckoned with; offering diagnostics, monoclonal antibody treatment, leukemia treatments and palliative care, amongst other services.

In this episode you will also hear Dr Henke’s first-hand accounts of treating patients who are often in destitute circumstances, giving them a fresh lease of life. Enjoy!

Episode 1. FCCT – The story

Episode 1. FCCT – The story

Episode 1. FCCT – The story

In our very first episode, our host Dr. Gloria Temu sits down with FCCT's President Hazel Reinhardt to talk about the origins of FCCT, it's vision and what generally inspires Hazel, along with the team at FCCT, to make cancer care more accessible to people in Tanzania.

Hear about the triumphs and tribulations around delivering care in a big country with a population of over 60million people.

Enjoy!