Jeff Gordon’s charitable foundation has committed to donate $1.5 million over three years to help children fight cancer in Africa. Partners In Health and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute are currently working together to develop a comprehensive cancer program in Rwanda. Funding from Jeff Gordon’s charitable foundation will help with prevention, diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and follow-up care for kids in one of Africa’s most densely populated country.
While the scope of the cancer burden within Rwanda remains poorly defined, in 2002 the World Health Organization global cancer database estimates that approximately 650,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually in Africa. By 2020, more than 1 million new cancer cases will be in sub-Saharan Africa.
In spite of the growing needs, there are currently no practicing oncologists in Rwanda, and financial, geographic, and logistical barriers limit the accessibility of the few services that exist.
To address this growing problem, PIH and our Rwandan partner organization Inshuti Mu Buzima (IMB) have been offering pediatric cancer care – despite a lack of oncological treatment infrastructure within the country – at our project sites in rural Rwanda since 2007, two years after we began working there.
Having successfully provided high quality cancer care to a cohort of patients in rural Rwanda, PIH and IMB, are now committed not only to maintaining and expanding our program but also to participating in the development and implementation of a national cancer strategy.
In collaboration with Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and with the support of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which has committed pathology services, personnel, and training, we are eager to work with our partners in the Rwandan Ministry of Health to develop a comprehensive national program to address all components of cancer care: prevention, diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, survivor follow-up, and palliative care.
Based on the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation’s history of supporting cancer treatment and research, PIH/IMB’s commitment to improving pediatric oncology in Rwanda, and DFCI’s commitment to supporting this work with key personnel, technical assistance, and medications and materials, we believe that these partnerships will have a great impact on pediatric cancer care in Rwanda and throughout the developing world.
Our organizations’ shared vision of making high quality cancer care accessible to all children, and to ensuring that their care includes not only attention to their clinical needs but also to their psychosocial and educational ones, will make this an ideal partnership.
The four-time Cup series champion formed his foundation in 1999 to support children fighting cancer. It also helps fund the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.