Collaborating against Cancer: Kampala & SeattlePosted in: AfriTech Summit, Case Studies
We often talk about effective collaboration and joint ventures in the areas of health and education and we also understand the magnitude of deterrent that accompany such an endeavor. In terms of health, education and technology, Africa demands the greatest levels of collaboration. There is no debating the fact that the need, intent and urgency can be felt by everybody.
One of the stellar examples of this type of collaboration can be found in the fight against infection-related cancer in Africa.An exemplary global collaboration conceptualized and actualized by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., USA,
together with the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala, Uganda, has broken ground for the future construction of a state-of-the-art cancer training and outpatient treatment facility in Kampala. The building will be the first comprehensive cancer center jointly constructed by U.S. and African cancer institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Through the collaboration between the Hutchinson Center and the Uganda Cancer Institute, we hope to develop new,
low-cost prevention and treatment strategies that will not only stem the rising burden of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa but will benefit millions of people worldwide,” said Lawrence Corey, M.D., president and director of the Hutchinson Center.
Reach & Impact…
Once the Uganda Cancer Institute/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Clinic and Training Institute opens its doors for Africa, it will provide a world class access to cancer diagnosis and research-based treatment while furthering study on the links between infectious diseases, such as HIV and Epstein-Barr virus, and cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma and the most common life-threatening malignancy among Ugandan children, Burkitt lymphoma.
Ugandan Vice President Edward Ssekandi led the Oct. 4 groundbreaking ceremony and was joined by Harold Varmus, M.D., Ph.D., Nobel laureate and director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, Ugandan Minister of Health Christine Ondoa and other government officials, international dignitaries, global health experts and community leaders.
“We are gathered here today to celebrate a great example of a partnership between two institutions dedicated to saving lives – the Uganda Cancer Institute in Uganda and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. I offer my congratulations to the two institutions who have come together, dedicated to improving the health and well being of people in Uganda and worldwide,” Ssekandi said.
“Cancer is being increasingly recognized as an enormously important global health problem that kills more people worldwide than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and nearly two-thirds of these deaths are in the developing world,” Corey said. “Sub-Saharan Africa has among the highest cancer rates in the world, and these rates appear to be increasing in association with the HIV epidemic.Through the collaboration between the Hutchinson Center and the Uganda Cancer Institute, we hope to develop new, low-cost prevention and treatment strategies that will not only stem the rising burden of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa but will benefit millions of people worldwide.”
Nearly 25 percent of cancers cases worldwide are infection related, and 50 percent of these cancer deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, explained Corey Casper, M.D., M.P.H., an associate member of the Hutchinson Center’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and co-scientific director of the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance, which is the name of the collaboration between the Hutchinson Center and the Uganda Cancer Institute. “Our commitment in Uganda is to increase survival rates for common infection-caused cancers from 10 percent to 90 percent over the next three years while pursuing a unique research opportunity to find new ways to prevent infection-associated cancers, which will benefit cancer patients both in resource-poor and resource-rich regions,” he said.
Stats to Ponder…
Here are a few facts & figures which should jolt the global medical fraternity…
- In 2008, Uganda had just one oncologist who treated more than 10,000 patients annually.
- More than 1.2 million Ugandans are living with HIV/AIDS.
- According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, people infected with HIV are several thousand times more likely than uninfected people to be diagnosed with Kaposi sarcoma and at least 70 times more likely to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- According to UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance researchers, nearly 75 percent of these cases can be treated for less than $800.
- Ugandan children are also vulnerable to infection-related malignancies that are not HIV-associated. “Cancer, especially childhood cancer, is a growing threat to Uganda’s next generation and must be addressed with equal vigor as HIV/AIDS,” stated Jackson Orem, M.D., director of the Uganda Cancer Institute and co-scientific director of the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance.
According to the official reports from the center …
To date, the Hutchinson Center has trained more than 100 individuals in both the United States and Uganda. Of the more than 70 Ugandan trainees, interns and fellows, 15 have traveled to Seattle to study at the Hutchinson Center. Twelve of the 25 Americans have trained in Uganda. The program offers training in a variety of disciplines —hematology, oncology, epidemiology, global health and HIV-associated malignancies, among others. Trainees include postgraduate and postdoctorate fellows, laboratory technicians, medical officers, study nurses and administrators.
Afri-Tech Johannesburg Summit (22-24th March, 2012) is a sincere attempt to create a mass scale awareness about the ‘synergy between the scientific community and the people of Africa’. This summit will witness the congregation of some of the most pioneering minds in the areas of Healthcare, Science & Technology, Education, Finance and Digital solutions – under one platform. We will need to forge more collaborations like the Seattle-Kampala cancer collaboration – which will work in favor of the African upliftment.