10 November 2017

Rwanda: U.S. Firm to Ease Cancer Treatment, Cost in Rwanda

Photo: The New Times
A woman being screened for breast cancer with mammography at Rwanda Military Hospital.

The Ministry of Health has sealed a partnership agreement with US organisation, BioVentures for Global Health (BVGH), a development that will see Rwandans access affordable cancer treatment.

BVGH is a US nonprofit based in Seattle, Washington DC, that works with private and public sectors to advance research in health.

The agreement, signed yesterday on the sidelines of the ongoing International Conference on Cancer in Africa (AORTIC) in Kigali, is aligned with BVGH's African Access Initiative (AAI).

This is a partnership of companies, governments, healthcare providers, and NGOs focused on sustainably expanding access to cancer medicines and technologies, improving healthcare infrastructure, and building clinical capacity in Africa.

The deal will see Central University Teaching Hospital of Butare, Central University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe, and Butaro Cancer Centre acquire cancer medicines and equipment at a subsdised cost.

It will also help build capacity of medics through training facilitated by American specialists.

After signing the deal, Jennifer Dent, the president of BVGH, who is in the country to speak about AAI at AORTIC, said she was "very pleased" to bring the initiative to Rwanda.

"It is focused on providing access to sustainable, affordable cancer medicines and technologies that align with the Ministry of Health's goal," she said.

According to Dent, BVGH has partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies that are committed to making their technologies and medicines available in Africa affordable, safe and with high quality.

"We are thrilled to welcome Rwanda; this is the fifth country that will be part of AAI," she added.

Dent said the MoU is a long-term partnership that will evolve alongside the national cancer strategy.

Health minister Diane Gashumba said: "The most important thing in it is that hospitals will be able to get cancer medicine needed by cancer patients at affordable cost."

This is the second agreement the ministry has sealed at the ongoing meeting, having signed another on Tuesday with Harvard Medical School concerning training of Rwandan oncologists at the US-based medical school.

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