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Rwanda Partnership

  • Cancer Center sign

    Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence

    The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE), located in the rural northern province of Burera in Rwanda, is a leading initiative for the Center for Global Cancer Medicine. After several years of informal collaboration through Partners In Health, Dana-Farber staff members joined President Bill Clinton to dedicate the Center in July, 2012. Before the Center opened, there were no dedicated public cancer treatment services in Rwanda.

    More than 2,000 cancer patients were cared for at BBCOE in the first two years. As the primary location for cancer treatment nationwide, BCCOE also offers oncology training for physicians and nurses in Rwanda:

    • Patients with treatable cancers receive care at no cost
    • Biopsies are obtained and processed at the hospital
    • Diagnoses are made jointly between Rwandan and US clinicians using advanced tele-pathology methods
    • Clinicians in Rwanda receive weekly consults by Dana-Farber oncologists
    • Dana-Farber clinicians make extended consulting visits

    Read Dr. Cyprien Shyirambere's account of providing cancer care in Rwanda.

    Read about Sibo Tuyishimire's experience as a young cancer patient in Rwanda.

    Read Dr. Shulman's first-hand accounts of bringing cancer care to Rwanda.

    Read about Dana-Farber's partnership in Rwanda in Nature Reviews Cancer.

    Read an account by Leslie Lehmann, MD, on the concept of “twinning,” in which American-trained clinicians teach their Rwandan colleagues.

    Nursing Fellowship for Sustainable Cancer Care

    Nurses are essential to safe and effective cancer care in resource-poor settings. In order to train local nurses in oncology fundamentals — such as preparing chemotherapy drugs, administering chemotherapy accurately and safely, helping patients manage symptoms and side effects, and keeping accurate records — Dana-Farber introduced a nursing fellowship program in Rwanda in 2013. Working and teaching at Butaro Cancer Center for three-month intervals, Dana-Farber nurses have been an invaluable asset to sustained progress in cancer service delivery in Rwanda, and two dozen Rwandan nurses have been trained to provide exemplary services on the oncology unit.

    Read more about the Dana-Farber Nursing Fellowship Program in Rwanda from Lori Buswell and Barbara Virchick.

    nurses in front of map of Africa