Butaro fulfills conditions to host a cancer centre – MoH
The ministry of health (MoH) together with Partners In Health, the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center are today inaugurating the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence which will serve as the first national cancer referral facility in rural Rwanda.
Considering the location of the hospital in a remote area, one may wonder at the choice of the hospital to host a national referral cancer facility, as access to it will obviously not be easy for everyone in the country. Dr. Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, the director general of clinical services at the ministry of health, explained that the choice of the hospital was actually motivated by its exact location.
“We want it to be the place where people who are undergoing chemotherapy can be taken to,” he said, pointing out that it will depend on the kind of treatment they are receiving, but usually cancer patients receiving chemotherapy need a somewhat pure and sterile environment to be in for a time.
“This is due to the fact that their immunity is strongly affected and lowered, making them vulnerable to any viruses and infectious disease they come across,” explained Ngirabega. However, he pointed out that it is not the only motivation saying that the hospital already had some activities in the area of cancer.
“It is the first hospital to offer complete cancer services, which we hope to make available soon in three other hospitals that we want to become cancer centers,” remarked Ngirabega. Those hospitals are King Faisal, Kanombe military hospital and CHUK.
Each of these hospitals will be specialized in one specific area. For CHUK, it will be mostly taking care of pediatric cancer, the same way the Butaro center provide a sterile environment for cancer patients.
Ngirabega said that preparations are already underway for the other hospitals, and getting all the facilities, equipment and drugs may take some time. He also remarked that the provincial hospitals to be set up will be equipped so they can perform some operations like biopsies before sending patients to referral cancer centers.