Good news for children with cancer in Tanzania

During a recent INCTR site visit of the paediatric oncology ward at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar-es-Salam (Tanzania), Dr Udo Bode - a renowned German Paediatric Oncologist - and his wife Gerlind – who has been involved in patients support activities - were happy to hear some very good news.

Officials of the Health Ministry, the University and the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salam had agreed to move the paediatric ward – now based at ORCI - into the paediatric hospital of Muhimbili. This location will provide more room for the patients and better treatment facilities for children with cancer as it will be within a paediatric setting. This move should take place in the coming months.

An additional plus will be the possibility to utilize a vacant ward as a hostel and a teaching facility for patients and their families between intensive treatments. This way the ward will be less crowded and patients who cannot afford to travel back to their homes between treatments will have an adequate place to stay. Sponsors have already agreed to support the necessary renovation of the old ward and promised to offer help for the families while stayingat the hostel.

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Paedriatric ward at ORCI, Dar es Salam

More paediatric oncology units

With a population of 41 millions, of which roughly fifty percent are under the age of 16, just one paediatric cancer unit is not sufficient for the entire country of Tanzania. It was thus suggested that at least three to four more units should be established. A visit to the paediatric department of KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre) in Moshi showed that the facility is suitable, and that the personnel is highly motivated to participate in a teaching program with a specialization in cancer treatment in children. As soon as a curriculum is agreed upon, courses will be offered both in Dar-es-Salam as well as on this site. Further hospitals will be contacted and involved in this program in the near future.

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Children’s hospital at Muhimbili, Dar es Salam

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