The grant will support efforts by Boston-based PIH and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to develop a comprehensive cancer program in the African nation and improve cancer prevention, diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and follow-up care for children. In 2002, the World Health Organization put the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed annually on the continent at 650,000 and predicted more than a million new cancer cases in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
There are no practicing oncologists in Rwanda, and financial, geographic, and logistical barriers limit the accessibility of the few cancer care services that do exist. Despite the lack of oncological treatment infrastructure within the country, PIH and a local partner organization, Inshuti Mu Buzima, have been providing pediatric cancer care in rural Rwanda since 2007.
"Childhood cancer occurs randomly...and excludes no ethnicity, socioeconomic class, or geographic region, and that is why it is imperative we reach beyond our borders and bring access to treatment to countries like Rwanda," said Jeff Gordon in announcing the grant. "Partners in Health and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation share a mutual desire to reach the day when no child faces the uncertainties of cancer; with our partnership, we are one step closer."