BENEFITING: The Foundation For Cancer Care In Tanzania
Together Let's Build Northern Tanzania’s First Cancer Care Facility.
There are just TWO cancer care facilities in the entire country of Tanzania, which is about twice the size of California. That’s right: two. This means that 95% of people with cancer in Tanzania receive inadequate care. In Northern Tanzania—home to the famed Mt. Kilimanjaro—there are ZERO designated cancer care facilities. Patients who are diagnosed with cancer often have nowhere to go.
The Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania (FCCT) is partnering with hospitals in northern Tanzania to build the region’s first designated cancer care facility, the Cancer Care Institute. In September we will break ground on a pediatric medical oncology clinic where children with cancer can receive chemotherapy, brachytherapy and other forms of treatment. Eventually this clinic will serve adults as well.
We’ve raised $275,000 for the Cancer Care Institute, more than 75% of the $350,000 we need to complete the facility. We need your help to raise the final $75,000 and build the Cancer Care Insitute.
Our Mission to Impact Cancer in Tanzania
Cancer is quickly reaching epidemic levels worldwide. In 2015, cancer will kill more than 8.9 million people around the globe.
Low-income countries like Tanzania are disproportionately impacted by cancer. While Tanzania has similar cancer rates to higher-income countries, a cancer patient in Tanzania is far less likely to survive than her counterpart in the US. Lack of screening and early detection means that more than 80% of cancers in Africa are not diagnosed until late stages. This makes successful treatment far more difficult, if patients even have access to treatment options at all.
In northern Tanzania, they often don’t. Patients who are diagnosed with cancer must be referred to facilities hundreds of miles away. The expensive and time-consuming journey is out of reach for many northern Tanzanians, who live on an average of $1.25/day. Each year in northern Tanzania, another 5,300 people develop cancer. The majority of these patients go without treatment and many go undiagnosed.
The good news? Small investments will pay off in lives saved in northern Tanzania. FCCT and its partners in Tanzania are committed to impacting cancer in the region and the country. Programs for early detection and screening will help catch diseases early, enabling patients to seek treatment when it is more likely to succeed. Lifestyle education and vaccinations will help prevent many cancers (it is estimated that 1/3 of cancers in Africa could be avoided altogether). High-quality treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery delivered by competent doctors will add years to the lives of patients of all ages. Palliation programs will offer end-of-life patients compassionate, quality care in hospitals and homes.
It all starts with construction of the Cancer Care Institute. Once cancer patients have an accessible destination to seek treatment, FCCT and its partners will begin impacting cancer at every level: prevention, early detection, treatment, and palliative care.
Our Campaign Goal
Construction of the Cancer Care Institute has been broken into several phases (you can read more about the phases here). The first phase, a medical oncology clinic for pediatric patients, will cost about $350,000 to build.
FCCT has raised more than $275,000 towards the Cancer Care Institute. With $75,000 more we can complete construction and begin offering chemotherapy, brachytherapy and more to pediatric patients (and, eventually, adult patients as well).
That $75,000 will help us serve patients like Elia, who was diagnosed with Wilm’s tumor last year. For Elia, because the Cancer Care Institute didn’t exist, there was no hope for treatment. For others like him the future, there will be.
The Cancer Care Institute & Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre
The initial, $350,000 Phase I of the Cancer Care Institute will include:
-Three exam rooms
-Six infusion bays
When the Cancer Care Institute is up and running, it will be able to handle more than 4,500 patient clinic visits per year, delivering more than 5,092 chemotherapy treatments to a total of more than 800 patients—patients like Sadiki, who was admitted with a late-stage lymphoma in 2014. Sadiki needed chemotherapy, but traveling hundreds of miles to Dar es Salaam wasn’t an option.
FCCT is working in close partnership with several hospitals in Tanzania including Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in order to improve outcomes for patients like Sadiki. KCMC is the central referral hospital for the entire region of northern Tanzania, and has volunteered a portion of its campus to house the Cancer Care Institute.
The Cancer Care Institute will be staffed by oncologists, nurses, social workers and other health workers, whose salaries will be paid by KCMC and the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Read more about the Cancer Care Institute on our website.
Meet the FCCT Team
FCCT is a Minnesota-based 501(c)3 nonprofit with strong ties to Tanzania. Our board is made up of oncologists, healthcare professionals, non-profit administrators and several doctors who have worked in Tanzania for years. We're fiercely committed to working tandem with Tanzanian hospitals and doctors to impact cancer in the northern region in a long-term, sustainable manner.
Over the past two years we’ve knitted together a generous and compassionate group of supporters who, like our board members, believe that we can truly make a difference in the lives of northern Tanzanians with cancer.
You can read more about our vision and mission on our website.
1. How long will it take to build the Cancer Care Institute?
We plan to start construction on the first phase of the Cancer Care Institute in September 2015. If all goes as planned, we will be treating patients by March 2016.
2. Who’s building it?
We’re working with a Tanzania-based construction firm called Jengo Imara Design Group. You can find more construction details in our white paper.
3. What happens after you build the Cancer Care Institute?
Once the clinic is built, we will start delivering chemotherapy to children with cancer (hopefully around March 2016). We plan to expand to serve adults as well, later in the year.
Even as we plan to build the Cancer Care Institute, we are simultaneously putting in place the pieces of programs for prevention, early detection and screening, diagnosis and palliative care around the northern region. These programs will all impact cancer rates and survival rates in the area. We view treatment as just one critical component of a comprehensive cancer care strategy, but the one that we must address first.
4. How will you pay for cancer care at the clinic? How much will it cost?
Running the Cancer Care Institute will cost around $123,000/year.
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center and the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare have agreed to share the costs of worker salaries, which will total around $88,000 per year. FCCT will be responsible for about $35,000 per year associated with transportation, housing, supplies, maintenance and education. FCCT will finance these costs through individual donations and grants.
5. Will care be free for patients?
Cost is a prohibitive factor for many patients in Tanzania. For that reason, we are committed to offering free cancer care at the Cancer Care Institute.
We would also like to offer transportation services and free housing for patients coming from far away, since those are two other factors that impact patients’ ability to seek care. We are developing plans for transportation and hope to build a patient/family hostel at the Cancer Care Institute within the next two years.
6. Why are you focusing on pediatric patients first?
Children are disproportionately impacted by cancer in countries like Tanzania. 80% of childhood cancers and 95% of childhood cancer deaths occur in low-income countries.
In high-income countries like the US, 12% of children with cancer die. In Tanzania, 90% of children with cancer die.
We are focusing on children because these disparities are repugnant—and because many common childhood cancers in Tanzania are highly treatable.
7. Why should I give to a project in Tanzania when there are so many problems here in the US?
We get this one a lot. We’d encourage you to check out this video.
It’s always difficult to decide where to put your support when there are so many good causes out there—some of them close to home, and some of them across the ocean. As one of our board members put it at a meeting last year, this doesn’t have to be “either/or”; it can be “and”. Support causes at home and overseas. In today’s interconnected world, Africa is not so very far away.
Most people know someone who has been affected by cancer. As difficult as that experience is in the US, it’s almost unfathomable to imagine going through this terrible disease without any treatment facilities; without the option to try chemotherapy; without the support of a healthcare team working on your behalf. But that’s the reality for thousands of patients in Tanzania today.
We have a pretty incredible and unique opportunity to effect massive change in northern Tanzania, for a relatively small investment. We hope you’ll be a part of it.
8. Why aren’t you giving prizes at incentive levels?
We want to put all of the dollars donated to FCCT to good use. We thought about offering incentives in thanks for your donations, but ultimately decided that the impact you’ll see them having in northern Tanzania will be greater than any prizes we could send you by mail.
Risks and Challenges
Thank you for your commitment to impacting cancer in northern Tanzania. We’re delighted to have you on the FCCT team.
Here are a few things we want you to know before you donate:
1. Delays may occur. We really, really want to be delivering care by March 2016. However, it is the nature of construction (and construction in Tanzania) that things may not go exactly as planned. However, if we do experience any setbacks we will be sure to communicate them to you so you know where this project is going.
2. Things may start slow. We’ve heard from other oncologists in low-income countries that it takes a while for word to spread when a new facility opens. We’ll be helping to get the word out through programs for education, prevention and early detection, but we know that we may not serve our capacity in the first year. We also know that this won’t last long (Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam operates at well above its capacity).
How Else You Can Help
Whether or not you make a donation, one of the most powerful things you can do for this cause is SHOUT IT TO THE WORLD! Share this campaign with your friends via social media, email, phone or good-old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. Cancer doesn't traditionally get a lot of attention in low-income countries like Tanzania, but it's time for that to change.
Videos & More
You can read more about FCCT on our website.
Check out more original videos on our “Stories of Resiliency” page.
Find us on Facebook and Twitter.