Rwanda’s First Cancer Treatment Center
Butaro, 18 July 2012
“The Ministry of Health of Rwanda in collaboration with Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima (PIH/IMB), Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation (JGCF) inaugurated today the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (COE), which will serve as the first national cancer referral facility in rural Rwanda. President William J. Clinton, 42nd president of the United States of America, presided the inauguration.
Dr. Lawrence Shulman of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute joins former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton in an inaugural tour of the new Butaro Cancer Center.
An outpatient Infusion Center will be set up on the Butaro Hospital campus to care for patients requiring chemotherapy infusions, blood transfusions, and family counseling. Until now, biopsies have been sent to supporting Boston-based hospitals; however a fully equipped pathology lab is being developed so that Butaro can serve as a national referral pathology lab, allowing for in-country cancer-related testing and diagnosis. ”
“Among all NCDs, cancers have been the most daunting and under-addressed. The national cancer registry in Rwanda revealed that 3,420 patients had been diagnosed with cancer between the years 2007 – 2011; of these cancer patients, 320 were children.
Since 2007, the MOH and PIH/IMB have provided cancer care to over 100 patients at PIH-supported Rwinkwavu Hospital.”
From left: Dr. Lawrence Shulman, the Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (Rwanda’s minister of health), Chelsea Clinton (PIH trustee), former President Bill Clinton, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, and Dr. Paul Farmer participate in the Butaro Cancer Center inauguration July 18, 2012.
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Good to know:
In April 1994, a genocide erupted in Rwanda due to a conflict between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. Over the next few months, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Rwandans, mainly Tutsi, were killed. By July, the Rwandan Patriotic Front took over the country. Although the Clinton Administration and the international community was aware of the genocide taking place in Rwanda, no action was undertaken. By the end of July, nearly two million of Hutus fled the country for safety, spawning the growth of refugee camps in neighboring countries. As thousands of people died of disease and starvation in these refugee camps, Clinton ordered airdrops of food and supplies for the Hutu refugees, including known genocidaires. In July, he sent 200 non-combatant troops to the Rwanda capital of Kigali to manage the airport and distribute relief supplies. These troops were subsequently withdrawn by October 1994. Clinton and theUnited Nations faced criticism for their non-response to the genocide. When Clinton traveled to Africa in 1998, he said that the international community, presumably including the US, must accept responsibility for the failure to respond to the massacres. When speaking about the Rwanda Crisis, Clinton called it his worst failure, admitting “I blew it.
President Clinton offers his condolences for the genocide four years earlier and his promise to the people of Rwanda of an international effort to make reparations in the country and bring back safety and prosperity to the people. March 1998
Sources: Partners in Health, Wikipedia, Youtube, Ted (Ideas worth spreading)